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Pumpkin is versatile for sweet and savory foods

Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross writes about pumpkins.
Posted on Oct. 27, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross

Food & Nutrition

We all have our favorite foods and one of mine is pumpkin. With the convenience of canned pumpkin I enjoy it all year long. Pumpkin’s light, natural taste makes it the perfect blend for a wide variety of other foods. Golden in color, pumpkin adds moistness, rich flavor and smooth texture to an impressive assortment of both sweet and savory dishes.

You add some food value to breakfast with pumpkin pancakes, waffles, pumpkin swirl rolls, spiced pumpkin monkey bread, pumpkin coffee cake, apple pumpkin fritters or pumpkin muffins or quick breads. For a pleasantly sweet and spicy spread for toast or muffins, try pumpkin butter. Just remember to refrigerate the pumpkin butter as you cannot process it.

Pumpkin also adds a unique flavor to soups. You might try a chilled one with rice in it. Party appetizers such as a pumpkin cheese ball or a creamy fruit dip made with pumpkin, yogurt and orange marmalade is a real treat. Other pumpkin possibilities for parties include a sandwich with a mixture of sweetened pumpkin with cream cheese — this is also good on bagels or toast too.

To make a ho-hum entrée something special, add pumpkin. Try different dishes such as a pumpkin pasta with pecan cream sauce, Szechwan-style pumpkin-sauced chicken, pumpkin crepes, pumpkin chili, pumpkin soufflé and pumpkin quiche.

For a change in holiday meals try a pumpkin stuffing to accompany this year’s holiday turkey or serve potatoes and pumpkin au gratin as a side dish with poultry or ham. No matter what time of year, barbecued food is wonderful; next time you make your own sauce add pumpkin to it. You can blend pumpkin with brown sugar, mustard, onion, garlic and spices to make a rich barbecue sauce. This goes great with pork, beef and chicken.

Last but not least, a vast assortment of desserts can be made with pumpkin, from frozen pumpkin dessert squares, pumpkin torte, pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin cookies to different kinds of pies, puddings, candy and caramel sauce to serve over all kinds of fruits. Pumpkin is for more than just pie.

Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross is county extension director and extension educator in health and human sciences at Purdue Extension Elkhart County. Reach her at lienhart@purdue.edu or 574-533-0554.




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