In addition to being loaded with anti-oxidants, pumpkins are high in B-complex vitamins: folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. It is high in minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Beta-caroten helps prevent a buildup of cholesterol on on blood vessel walls, which lessens the chances of stroke.
The alpha-carotenes in pumpkin help slow the aging process and help prevent cataract formation. They help filter out UV rays, helping to protect the retina and prevent macular degeneration of the eye.
Pumpkin has plenty of potassium, especially valuable for sufferers of high blood pressure. The zinc contained in pumpkin helps boost the immune system and prevent osteoporosis.
Here is a simple, basic recipe for pumpkin soup – you can jazz it up any way you like: add sautéed mushrooms or corn at the same time you begin cooking the pumpkin and onions, top it with sour cream, croutons and/or cheese before serving – the options are many.
Greene County farm markets, Sugarcreek township farm markets and 2nd Street Market all have very nice pumpkins available. Choose a smaller, more tender pie pumpkin (instead of a carving pumpkin) for this recipe as it will be easier to peel and less stringy and watery.
Basic pumpkin soup
- 1 whole pie pumpkin
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
- 1 ¾ cups cream or half-and-half, or to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 or 3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
Cut pumpkin into small wedges; peel and remove goopy stuff. Place in large pot of water along with the onions; cook until tender.
Meanwhile, saute garlic and set aside.
When pumpkin and onion have cooked, drain and mash (or put in a blender). Add salt, nutmeg, curry powder and pepper to taste and mix well. Slowly pour in cream, then stir in sugar to taste (if desired. Taste the soup before you add any sugar to it).
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