It’s not surprising that I love pumpkin, it seems like most people do. However, I’m not a fan of pumpkin flavoring. I’ll be honest, that stuff is crap, and I avoid crap like the plague. So that means no Pumpkin Spice Latte or any of the other pumpkin flavored BS out there in the stores. I know, some of you are probably hating me right now. You’re entitled to your love of whatever you want, but just be real with yourself as to what’s in it and what effect it has on your body.
I like pumpkin savory dishes as well as pumpkin sweet things. We had the MOST EPIC pumpkin and seafood soup on our Honeymoon in Puerto Rico. I have made a few attempts to recreate the soup, but haven’t been able to do so. I LOVE pumpkin curry from Jasmine Thai, our local joint. My favorite sweet pumpkin treat surprisingly isn’t pumpkin pie. I KNOW! I have a recipe for pumpkin cookies that is AMAZING! So bread-like and scrumdiddlyumptious. I’m in the process of trying to paleo-ify the recipe. STAY TUNED!
Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie with a ginger spiced crust, and roasted pumpkin seeds with two different flavor profiles. I should also say I’m a huge sucker for homemade pumpkin seeds. It’s like crack to me.
Member of the cucurbitaceae family.
Because of the thick skin, winter squashes, like pumpkin, can last in cold storage for up to six months.
The deep orange coloring is a sign that it contains high levels of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor.
Of all the winter squashes, pumpkin contains the most beta-carotene.
Foods rich in carotenoids, like beta-carotene have been shown to be protective against many cancers, especially lung cancer.
Carotenoid rich food is also protective against heart disease and the development of type 2 diabetes.
Good source of fiber.
Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6, and C, and folic acid, niacin, potassium, and manganese.
Pumpkin has been shown to enhance immune activity in rodent studies.
B R U S S E L S S P R O U T S ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Hopefully that conveys my excitement for this fall and winter veggie. I could seriously have them nearly every day and still love them. But it wasn’t always that way. The first time I had Brussels sprouts was at my step sister’s wedding in 2009. I had avoided them for all of my childhood and well into my twenties. At the wedding, they were pretty boring, so I didn’t add them to my list of new favorites just yet. Then in 2010 I began working for Tomatero Organic Farm and in the fall we had Brussels. So I bought some and found a recipe in a cookbook for how to prepare them (roasted in butter and topped with bacon). And you know what? I LOVED them. From there on out, I was hooked!
Danielle Walker of Against All Grain has a great recipe and I have created my own favorite recipe too. Look for it soon! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests Brussels Sprouts Chips, which surprisingly, I have yet to try! She also suggests roasting them with bacon [this is a very common way they are prepared] and also sautéed with lemon and walnuts.
VEGGIE TIP: If you aren’t on the Brussels bandwagon yet, it’s probably because these are DENSE little veggies and if not cooked through to the center, they aren’t very tasty. Using a food processor, try grating them or slicing them (my favorite). Now they will be cooked through and it won’t take an hour to chew them.
Member of the brassica/cruciferous family.
Sinigrin and progoitrin and the bitter chemicals that are responsible for some folks distaste of Brussels sprouts.
Brussels kill more human cancer cells than any other member of the cruciferous family.
When shopping for brussels:
It’s important to buy them in season for less of a bitter flavor.
Brussels should be bright green with densely packed leaves.
Frozen Brussels have only 20% of the caner-fighting compounds as fresh Brussels.
Like broccoli and artichokes, Brussels respire rapidly, so refrigerate immediately and eat as soon as possible.
Steaming Brussels for 6-8 minutes will help them to retain the most nutrients (although that’s not how I like to cook them).
Great source of vitamin B6, C, and K, folic acid, beta-carotene, thiamine, and potassium.
Rich in fiber.
Contain the antioxidant, glucosinolates, that help to fight cancer.
It’s December first (not quite sure how that happened!!)! Here is the list of what’s in season in December (especially in Northern California). Mandarins are exciting to see on this list. And I’m excited to have lemons back on my tree!!