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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Cooking with pumpkins and squashes

Pumpkins and squash belong to autumn, like falling leaves and the smell of woodsmoke. you can use these aromatic vegetables in dozens of different ways, on their own or in combination with herbs and spices, potatoes, apples, or meat like turkey. To start with, firm-fleshed, strongly flavoured squashes are delicious grated into winter salads. Simply avoid the sorts that taste bitter eaten raw. Mix the grated squash with radishes, grated carrots, sliced cucumbers, paprika and sweetcorn and stir in a classic oil and vinegar vinaigrette. Squash makes a delicious risotto, or serve it baked or pureed as a side dish, in chutney, in lasagne, made into a jam, in bread, cakes and pies. To make spaghetti with pumpkin sauce, cut the pumpkin into cubes, cook it with onions and garlic and then puree everything.

Savoury or sweet – dozens of ways to prepare squashes and pumpkins

Spice up your pumpkin dishes with ginger, chilli, curry, garlic, onions, vinegar and herbs. If you're making a sweet dish, then go for honey, cinnamon, fruit juices, pineapple, apple, raspberries and oranges.

 


Each sort of pumpkin or squash has its own unique flavour. The hokkaido pumpkin with its nutty taste is very popular, partly because you can use it in almost any dish, both sweet and savoury. One flavoursome dish is stuffed, for example, with red lentils, dried fruit, ginger and chilli, and then with baked. Butternuts have a lighter, creamier flavour; they make delicious sauces, soups and stews.

Health benefits

With 25 kcal per 100 g flesh and consisting of 95% water, pumpkins and squashes have a big role to play in a low-calorie diet. They contain valuable carotinoids, which act as antioxidants, protecting your body from free radicals. In addition, they are rich sources of dietary fibre, secondary phytochemicals, potassium (300 mg pro 100 g), calcium, magnesium phosphorus, iron, zinc, selenium and vitamins E, C and B.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de