Autumn’s Gifts: Pumpkins

 

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We continue the series of goodies offered by the fall with the star of the end of October – the pumpkin, which can be found at very affordable prices in every market in Romania and used in countless simple and tasty recipes. Whether we use it as frightening Halloween ornament or as food in the kitchen, added in pies, soups or simply baked in the oven, the pumpkin is a true symbol of autumn, abundant in nutrients.

In addition to its strong aroma and taste, the pumpkin has many health benefits, so its consumption during this cold period is very beneficial for the body:
1. As a true autumn food, the pumpkin contains plenty of vitamin C, which protects the body from colds and viruses.

Pumpkin Pie at Vatra Restaurant in Bucharest

2. Like carrots, pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which helps prevent cancer.
3. It helps and sharpens the view because of the lutein and zeaxanthin.
4. It is an excellent source of fiber and low in calories. Thus, pumpkin is a very nourishing meal, without worrying about the extra pounds.
5. Due to potassium content, pumpkin protects the heart and maintains a normal level of blood pressure. Potassium also helps restore the body after exercise, easing sore muscles the next day.
6. Takes care of healthy bones due to calcium content.
7. Because of its antioxidants, prevents wrinkles and cares for skin health.

If you’ve been convinced that pumpkin deserves all the attention in this cold season, here are some ways to consume more and more often pumpkin products:
1. Baked pumpkin – the easiest way to enjoy the pumpkin’s taste and nutrients is to divide it into pieces and then introduce them in the oven. In about an hour you have a nourishing desert, sweet and tasty, a very good dinner replacement, especially if you want to keep your weight under control.
2. Other pumpkin recipes enjoyed by Romanians are piestarts or any other cakes that contain pumpkin, all requiring the addition of sugar and other spices. In this case, the calorie content is higher and the nutrients level lower.
3. Pumpkin soup – imported from other nations in Romania, it is often cooked due to the simplicity of the recipe and the marvelous taste. Usually, pumpkin soup is associated with kefir, buttermilk, yogurt or pomegranate juice and croutons, in order to slightly decrease the pumpkin’s sweetness.

Pumpkin Soup at Vatra Restaurant in Bucharest

4. Pumpkin stew with cream – a recipe that involves boiling the pumpkin, so it is recommended to those who are not allowed to eat fried food. It can be used also as a wonderful garnish for roast pork or chicken.
5. Mashed pumpkin – mostly considered as baby food, mashed pumpkin can be a very tasty and healthy side dish for adults. For this recipe, you need to boil the pumpkin for about 20 minutes, then crush it and add salt and other spices. Given the food’s sweet taste, a fresh salad can be welcomed.

However you choose to cook the pumpkin, do not forget to keep the seeds, a real treasure inside it. They are full of protein, magnesium, potassium and zinc, which is very beneficial to health: they reduce cholesterol, prevent certain cancers, stop prostate gland enlargement, reduce the risk of kidney stones and even help prevent depression. So, they are a good substitute for popcorn or sweets in the evening.

And if you want to keep the pumpkin during winter, then keep it at low temperatures or cut it into small pieces, then put them in the freezer.

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