Why your jack-o-lantern deserves better.
If you get this reference, you’re probably wondering why the heck I am using a poem by Walt Whitman as a metaphor for winter squash. The poem O Captain! My Captain! talks about the exalted captain lying lifeless on the ship’s deck once her voyage has been completed. Very sad indeed. Is it not also sad when you’ve gone to the hardware store in search of the perfect tools, set up the newspaper, dug out the slimy guts and SLAVED for over an hour to portray just the right amount of spook on your pumpkin’s side– And once the carving is through, it’s out on the stoop for ONE DAY and it’s shrivelled up like an old prune?!
The answer is yes. It is extremely sad, which is why I resolve to eat my pumpkin.
This year, we actually grew sugar pumpkins, the ones that you make pies out of. We had one plant that produced over twenty squash! Impressive, eh? Nature, she is a lady of magic and mystery. We gave away about half of them, but the rest are going to good use… in our bellies! We’ve made pumpkin curry, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, etc. Even our dogs love pumpkin*!
Pumpkins are tasty and versatile, yes, but guess what else they are… SUPER NUTRITIOUS! Just a few of the nutritive tools winter squashes have in their arsenal are:
Alpha & Beta-carotene: These antioxidants are precursors to vitamin A which of course, is awesome vision-support and provides protection from viruses.
Folate: This vitamin aids in the production of skin cells and red blood cells, and also supports proper nerve function.
Potassium: So cool! Potassium helps to keep your sodium levels in in check, and in doing so lowers your risk of hypertension while maintaining proper calcium levels and electrolyte balance.
*My dear friend, Katie, told me that cooked pumpkin is great for upset doggy tummies!
Now that we’ve got that covered, I’m sure you’re just as amped as I am about not only eating and cooking with pumpkins, but nutrifying your body with them! So here is one of my favorite winter squash recipes. You can use any type of winter squash, but let’s use pumpkin for your poor, withered jack-o-lantern’s sake.
Roasted Winter Squash with Rosemary
3-4 c. winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 red bell pepper, julienned, then cut in half
3 inch sprig fresh rosemary, picked and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or micro-planed
2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients, then lay out on sheet tray. Bake 30-45 minutes or until the squash is tender when pierced with fork.
Friends, don’t let your pumpkin meet it’s demise on your front stoop, give it a dignified death. Death by mastication. OM NOM NOM NOM!
Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Seattle, Washington: George Mateljan Foundation, 2007. Print