Que Viva Española: The Season Of The Pumpkin
By Steven E. Lovato
Que Viva Española is an online community that promotes and explores the culture, history, and traditions around the Española Valley area. Que Viva publishes a weekly columns here in the Valley Daily Post. The objective is uniting as a community to celebrate what makes the valley beautiful and unique.
The Season Of The Pumpkin
The fall season is in full swing and as Halloween approaches, so does all the pumpkins. This is the perfect time to go out and pick your very own pumpkins, locally I hope. To carve and hopefully utilize in all those wondrous holiday dishes and desserts. For me this is the perfect time to roast some in the oven to puree for baking purposes. I’ll admit, baking or cooking with fresh pumpkin puree rather the can is no comparison. If this isn’t a technique you utilize you should. Plus it’s real simple to do.
This is what you do: cut the pumpkin in half, with a metal spoon scoop out the seeds (save the seeds, you can also roast those for another time). Then lay the pumpkin face down in a large baking dish and bake them at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes (depending on the size) or until tender, using a fork to check. Once that’s completed, remove from the oven and scoop out the insides, discarding the skin. You may store them in the refrigerator in a glass mason jar, for up to 5 days. If not it’s ready to utilize for your pie, muffin, break or custard recipe.
Pumpkins are rich in fiber, which slows digestion keeping you fuller longer. Their brilliant orange coloring comes from its ample supply of beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in the body. The Vitamin A is great for your eyes and helps your body fight infections. While it’s oil can help fight various bacterial and fungal infections. Plus Pumpkins are packed with nearly 20% of the recommended amount of daily Vitamin C, which may help you recover from a cold faster.
With all those benefits it gives you an even more incentive to bake that fresh pumpkin in the over for that pumpkin pie you make every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shop local if you can, there are a lot of pumpkin patches and the Española farmers market is held on Mondays at their location on Railroad Avenue. Not only is it a great way to support the local agricultural economy but there is nothing better than cooking/baking with fresh. Enjoy!