Its fall and thoughts turn to pumpkin pie and to Halloween jack-o’-lanterns. But can you use the same pumpkin for BOTH a jack-o’-lantern and for eating?
Beware pumpkins for jack-o’-lanterns usually are larger, with stringier pulp. If you decide to use fresh pumpkin, make sure to get the right pumpkin for the job. Sugar or pie pumpkins are generally smaller, less stringy and work well in recipes.
To prepare pumpkin for recipes, wash it, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and microwave, bake or boil the pumpkin until the pulp is soft. Remove the skin, then mash it by hand or puree it in a food processor blender.
To bake a pumpkin, place cut side down on a shallow baking dish and bake at 350o F for 30 minutes or longer. Test for doneness by piercing with a fork. When tender, remove from the oven and allow cooling.
Besides tasting great, pumpkin provides important Vitamin A and potassium for your body. Here is a recipe for using pumpkin:
Mini Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins
(Makes 32 mini-muffins or 12 six regular muffins)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
¾ cup low-fat milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg slightly beaten
¼ cup quick oats
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. melted margarine or butter
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or use muffin liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, quick oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, oil and egg. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Mix topping ingredients. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins. Bake mini-muffins at 400oF for 8-12 minutes or until evenly browned. Bake regular sized muffins for 15-18 minutes.