Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

Okay, well NOT everywhere, but quite a few in the kitchen, at any rate.

Today I roasted some pumpkins to use in various things this Autumn, as well as roasting their seeds for my husband. This is another thing, like the granola, that isn’t from my childhood, but rather something that I tried when I was a single mother working my way through college and my world opened up a bit beyond my Kickapoo Valley upbringing.

I love pumpkin. I love pumpkin pie, I love pumpkin tea, I love pumpkin soup. I stick it in whatever I can when pumpkins are in season, and not just because it tastes so good and lends such a nice moist denseness to many dishes. Pumpkins, and their seeds, are bursting with health benefits, surely making them from the tayyibaat!

Some Possible Health Benefits of Pumpkin:

1. It is a significant source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for the health of our skin and mucus membranes, which is triply important this time of year, with so many things attacking our immune systems. It is especially potent against viruses, such as measles. Vitamin A fights cancer, not only as a preventative but as a treatment. It is used in many topical situations as well, and is an important vitamin to make sure you get enough of!

2. Pumpkin has lots of fiber, which is crucial for your digestive system to be on track. One cup of pureed pumpkin has around seven grams of dietary fiber, which is about 1/10 of recommended fiber intake.

3. In addition to vitamin A, pumpkin contains vitamin E and iron, which are both important supporters of your immune system, among other things.

Some Possible Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:

1. That immune system again! Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is important not just for immune system health, but for sleep regulation, prevention of depression and fatigue, prostate health in men, and more.

2. Magnesium- ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds contains almost half of the magnesium your body needs every day. Magnesium is beneficial for blood pressure regulation, blood vessel health, and tooth and bone health.

3. Pumpkin seeds (and pumpkin itself, actually) are anti-inflammatory

4. They are very beneficial for postmenopausal women, increasing HDL cholesterol levels, lessening the frequency and severity of hot flashes and headaches.

These are just some of the health benefits that have been reported to come from the eating of pumpkins and their seeds. While they are all pretty cool, the best thing about pumpkin, in my opinion, is the taste! Pumpkin puree can be added to breads, bars, and cakes. You can add puree to soup as well, but I like it in cubed- it is also a good addition to couscous or other vegetable dishes as well.

Here is how we roasted our pumpkins and seeds today:

Baked Pumpkin

First of all, bypass the big pumpkins sold for carving, and go for a sugar pumpkin. They are smaller, more tender, and have a much sweeter taste than carving pumpkins. If you can, you might want to try to grow some pumpkin in your garden- there are many beautiful and yummy heirloom varieties to be found, and you don’t need a lot of them to insure your pumpkin supply for fall.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Cut the pumpkins in half. I remove the woody stem, but I am not sure if you have to do this or not. I just picture it bursting into flame in the oven, and so avoid putting it in there!

3. Scoop out all of the stringy stuff and the seeds. Place them in a colander for later.

4. Rub the flesh of the pumpkin with oil- you could use olive if you like, but it does have a rather strong flavor. It would be fun to try walnut or macadamia nut oil if you have it, but I used sunflower today.

5. Place the pumpkins halves flesh side down on a baking sheet. Put it in the preheated oven, and pour a glass or two of water into the pan as well. I do it this way because otherwise the water sloshes over the sides and makes a mess.

6. Bake for 45- 50 minutes, until the flesh of the pumpkin is softened and a fork goes in easily. I always check them about halfway through to make sure there is still a little water in the bottom of the pan, but honestly, the water has dissipated and the pumpkin has still been fine

7. Let the pumpkin cool slightly and peel. The peel should come off very easily.

8. Save all that good pumpkin. If you have a lot, you can freeze it. If you want a pulp, more along the lines of the canned stuff, you can blender the pumpkin. I simply cube it so I keep my options open for later.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

You do this while the pumpkin is baking away happily in the oven.

1. Clean the seeds off very, very well. Don’t skimp on this step. Take the time to get all that pulp off of the seeds. It takes some effort, but makes a big difference in the end result.

2. Drain the seeds very well, or pat them off with a clean tea towel. Don’t worry about getting them all the way dry.

3. Put the seeds in a small saucepan with water to cover and a teaspoon or so of salt. Bring to a boil, and let boil for ten minutes.

4. Drain the seeds, pat them off again if you wish. I don’t, because I can never seem to find a tea towel when I need one!

5. Put them on a low sided baking pan or cookie sheet. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil. I use olive. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Pat them down so that there is not a lot of overlap between the seeds. Don’t be crazy on this, it’s okay if there is some, but in general aim for a layer of seeds.

6. When the pumpkin is out, lower the oven heat to 325. That being said, I have actually roasted the seeds at the same time as the pumpkin, just on the lower rack, and everything turned out well. Put the baking sheet with the seeds into the oven.

7. Bake for ten minutes.

8. Stir the seeds and pat them into a single layer again. I make sure to bring the seeds from the outside to the inside, and vice versa, as much as possible.

9. Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes. Check them for doneness after five minutes, so they don’t burn. The seeds SHOULD NOT BE BROWN!! The inner seeds should be a light golden color.

10. Store in an airtight container

11. Enjoy!!

Please share your favorite pumpkin recipes below. I love getting new ideas from you all!

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  1. Salam Alaykoem,

    This sounds like a nice story but I think you should consider doing something about the garbage problem like putting up a sign so people don’t leave garbage there. It is a health hazard and can bring rodents and pests…

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      I am guessing you have never lived in a Yemeni village, mash’Allaah. They do burn the garbage periodically, alhamdulillah, (releasing toxins into the air from the plastics and such) and many villages have some sort of garbage pickup, but you have to remember it is a third world country, mash’Allaah. There is also a difficulty in the fact that the people until relatively recently did not have garbage that wouldn’t “go away” like vegetable scraps and such. So now they have disposable diapers, plastic bags, etc, and many people try to dispose of them in the way they traditionally disposed of their waste. The issue of course is, that it does not decompose like the organic compounds. It would also have been bad manners for me, a foreigner, to post such a sign in a public area, mash’Allaah. They would see this as very arrogant. It is always best to not make such broad statements until you have researched and understand the situation, mash’Allaah, especially if you do not have a cultural and geographical understanding of it.

  2. My daughters are pack rats because they see the potential and possibilities for creative use in just about everything, maashaa Allah. The fact that my 7 year old is wearing a size 3T cardigan today, is planning to sew up the holes in her 4 year old socks even though she has ones that are fine and fit her, and there is rarely a box, carton, or bottle that they don’t try to keep for their “projects,” shows just how far they take it.

    I am near neurotic struggling between wanting them to be like that and having piles of junk, oops sorry, “treasure” in their room and around the house driving me nuts. For this reason, I dream of a world with minimal packaging made of naturally derived materials that can be composted. Then all those potential dolly beds (fruit and vegetable crates) will no longer cause an ethical dilemma in our household. In the meantime, I say al hamdul’Illah for the good in it and seek patience and practicality in managing it!

    1. You and me both, Mai. It was amazing though- Hudhaifah has a sort of hunter gatherer mentality. He is always seeing things when we are out walking and popping them in his pockets. Anyone else would think they were junk, but he comes up with the most amazing things with them! A couple of Eids ago, he made a working reading lamp out of “stuff” he had picked up around Shihr! But, I am a minimalist, it is hard for me to deal with the chaos caused by the collectors in my family, LOL!

      1. Maashaa Allah, if they come up with brilliant things like reading lamps, then I guess it’s worth putting up with the collecting…to an extent! Barak Allahu feehu, Hudhaifah is a star maashaa Allah!

        1. I guess so LOL!! Mash’Allaah. One of the brothers that Hudhaifah has worked for here says he gets that “mad scientist” look in his eyes, and then look out, you don’t know what he will come up with!

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