How do you Slay a Pumpkin?
It’s not easy to chop up and prepare a pumpkin. No, you have to hack and slash and slay the thing before it’s ready! It will take some strength, can be dangerous if you don’t point your knife away from you, and creates a load of mess in the kitchen. All of this for a little bit of pumpkin flesh? These are exactly the reasons that a lot of people stay away from pumpkins. It’s a shame, because they are so healthy for you! In this blog you’ll learn more about why this seasonal vegetable is so good for you, how best to prepare it, and what best to do with it.
Like a Hot Knife Through Butter
I’ll begin with my number one tip for preparing a pumpkin. Pre-roast it in the oven – simple as that. Stick it in there for around 30 minutes with the oven on 150°C. Even cooking it in a pan submerged in a small amount of water can work wonders. After pre-roasting or parboiling the pumpkin you will find it a lot easier to chop up. Just like a hot knife through butter! No more dangerous scenes in the kitchen, and your work surface won’t be covered in waste pumpkin. Even better, you can now eat the skin of the pumpkin, which is filled with so many healthy nutrients. You’ll only need to throw the stem away after you’ve easily removed it. If you do want to eat the skin, it’s best to ensure that your pumpkin is organic – to keep everything natural and healthy.
The pumpkin is a kind of cross between a vegetable and a fruit. It has the characteristic high glycaemic index of fruit and this is why it’s better to avoid it if you know you suffer from spikes in your blood sugar level. The higher the glycaemic index of a food, the more it will cause your blood sugar level to rise and fall rapidly. Eating pumpkins won’t see you put on weight, necessarily, but it depends on how the body reacts to the high G.I. A blood sugar level that yo-yos can often be the cause of fat being stored in the body. I would advise eating no more than 200g of pumpkin twice a week. This way, you’ll leave plenty of room for other vegetables and variation is so good for the body. You could take this advice for every single vegetable, more or less – the more variation on your plate, the healthier the meal!
Types of Pumpkin
Pumpkins can be, and are, grown all over Europe. There are all sorts of variations, but the most famous is the round orange one that is so associated with Halloween, sometimes called the field pumpkin or even the Jack O’Lantern. The butternut squash is a little longer and often a bit easier to handle. The spaghetti squash has flesh that separates into strands and can be used for exactly that, spaghetti, while the Japanese kabocha squash is a deep green colour and becomes extra creamy when cooked. The pumpkin is simply a type of squash, of which there are many. Some are edible, some are not, and the latter look much better as decorations in the garden or in the kitchen. You don’t have to keep squashes in the fridge, and because they often have such tough skin, they can survive a knock.
Most pumpkins are grown organically. This is important to know because you may want to eat the skin. Look closely for that stamp or sticker that will tell you whether it’s grown organically or not. One big benefit of pumpkins is that they are very cheap. At the local market I can pick up a pumpkin for no more than a pound, and it’s good for several meals too. An ideal vegetable, then!
Happiness is in the Pumpkin
Honestly, pumpkins will make you happy! It’s not only the attractive colour that is a treat for the eyes, or the low price. The pumpkin is also very healthy indeed. These are my top ten reasons:
- It contains tryptophan. This is turned into serotonin (the happiness hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone). Pumpkins will make you happy. Period.
- It’s filled to the brim with fibre; this is fantastic news for your gut.
- They contain loads of vitamins, including a great deal of vitamin A – great for your eyes.
- They contain starch; you could easily use pumpkin as a healthier replacement for potatoes.
- The antioxidants in pumpkins protect your cell membrane against free radicals. These are substances that can cause illness or disease in the body, against which your cells cannot always defend themselves alone.
- The high iron content of pumpkins is very healthy. You can use it as a substitute for meat, if you fancy a day without.
- Pumpkins will naturally boost your immune system.
- They lower your blood pressure (as long as you follow my tips for preparation!).
- Pumpkins will make you feel fuller for longer, which is great if you are trying to cut back a little – you won’t want to eat again for a while.
- They are great for your skin.
More than Soup
Lots of people like to make pumpkin soup. Delicious! I love making it too, with curry powder, turmeric and cumin, sometimes adding a carrot or some slices of mango for a great taste and a beautiful colour. But you are selling pumpkins short if making soup is all you do with them. You can do so much more! Cut the flesh into cubes and put them in the freezer in bags, ready for whenever you might want to add them to a sauce. You can roast them, fry them, or throw them in a one-pot concoction along with some other vegetables. Cut into similar sizes, pumpkin can be a great replacement for roast potatoes – why not do something new with the Sunday roast? Butternut squash is a little longer and it can easily be turned into chips in an air fryer or in the oven.
Healthy on the Inside, Glowing on the Outside
Now that you know how easy it is to slay a pumpkin you might want to eat them more often because they make such a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. This will make you happier. My passion is to teach everyone how to live a healthy, or healthier, life. This is why I organise healthy dinners, cookery courses, why I’ve written cook books, and why I continue to support those who have embarked on the Eat Wright Plan. You can do so much yourself when armed with the right information, so if you want more visit www.eatwright.co.uk where you can get in touch with me directly, learn more about upcoming events, or organise a health check.
There is a lot on conflicting information about what to eat in order to reach good health. Many people are confused, no wonder! That is why I organise talks and help you to be healthier, fitter and stay slim while eating delicious foods. You will receive tips and advice on how you can transform your health forever.
How to be Healthier, Look Younger and Stay Slim events are held on:
16 January 2019 19.30-21.30
22 January 2019 10.00-12.00 and 19.30-21.30
For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/949733625217768/
To Better Health,