Black Garlic…if you please!

Black garlic is a 4,000 year old Korean recipe for curing garlic in order to preserve it and now their latest health trend product.  It went mainstream in the U.S. in 2008 and is growing in popularity.

BG is made by a fermentation-type process of exposing garlic to high heat and high humidity for more than a month (usually 35 days). The high heat causes what is known as a Maillard reaction* a caramelization reaction that causes the garlic to turn black.

*The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and sugar brought on by the addition of heat.  This process results in the browning or caramelization of food.  

Although this type of fermentation process does not produce “live bacteria” like probiotics, it does produce a significant amount of disease-fighting anti-oxidants. The most common one being S-allylcysteine; a water-soluble component easily absorbed by the body.

S-allylcysteine is known to naturally lower cholesterol levels, prevent strokes, work as an anti-inflammatory or immune booster and may help reduce diabetic complications.

Black garlic produces as much as 3 times the amount of anti-oxidants as regular garlic, plus it doesn’t exude the strong, “off-putting” odor!

The optimal fermentation time for BG is 21 days as that is when anti-oxidants are at their peak.  After that time, they decline a little every day up to the 35 day fermentation period.

Chefs like to use black garlic to make sauces, purees and salad dressings.  They also use it as a sandwich spread, in deviled eggs and even to make ice cream. Check out their recipes at http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/what-to-do-with-black-garlic.html.

Picture courtesy of restaurantgirl.com 

Fermented Vegetables

 

In sticking with our theme of gut microbe trends, I thought I would highlight a couple of probiotic powerhouses. One of the best – “fermented” vegetables.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It is high in fiber and provides a good source of iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It is also considered a “cruciferous” vegetable, which have been shown to lower your risk of cancer.

Kimchi is also made from fermented cabbage. It also includes radishes, scallions and cucumbers and seasonings.  Kimchi is an excellent source of Vitamin K (64% of the daily recommended amount in a cup), iron (25% of the daily rec amt) and folate.  It also provides Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and zinc. And since it’s a cabbage, it is also a “cruciferous” vegetable.

Pickled cucumbers, beets, onions, carrots, etc. – You get many of the vegetable benefits from these including Vitamins A and C. Plus, they have been shown to lower blood sugar, are excellent sources of anti-oxidants, help relieve muscle cramps and may treat restless leg syndrome. Just make sure it is the live, raw, fermented kind to help keep sodium levels low.

One final note:

The Vitamin C in cabbage becomes more bioavailable (more able to be digested and absorbed) when it’s fermented to become sauerkraut and kimchi. The process also creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics such as Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus that improve digestion and gut health.

“Live Active Cultures”

Gut Microbes (con’t) – So, I’m asked all the time, how can you tell  which is the best probiotic supplement to take?  First of all you want one that contains “live cultures.” It should state it somewhere on the package label.  Secondly, choose a refrigerated kind, because the cultures in an unrefrigerated kind tend to die off fairly quickly making them ineffective. And lastly consume at a supplement with at least 1 billion live bacterial cultures – 250 billion would be at the top of the range.

But what if you don’t want to spend the hefty price-tag that goes along with these supplements? Try getting them from whole, “real” foods.

Most people have heard of consuming yogurt as a way to get probiotics. If you are buying yogurt, the same is true as in supplements.  Make sure that you look for the words “contains active cultures” or “living cultures” on the carton. The probiotics in yogurt that have been treated with heat will most probably be killed off and therefore ineffective.

*Live and active cultures refer to the living organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which convert pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation. All yogurts are required to be made with these two cultures. In heat-treated yogurt, these cultures are killed during post-fermentation heating. Source: http://aboutyogurt.com/index.asp?bid=28#Q3

Some studies have suggested that you will need to consume several cartons of live active yogurt to have any effect, so eating fermented vegetables may be a better option. If you can; purchase them from a local food source. Heating bacteria (as in commercially produced fermented vegetables) kills it in the manufacturing process, so even though it keeps them shelf stable – it has no probiotic effect.  Pasteurizing also kills bacteria. So those yummy dill pickles you find on your store shelf, may certainly taste good, but offer little or no ‘good’ bacterium value.

For best probiotic results, choose raw, uncooked, unpasteurized fermented vegetables.

More to come on probiotics later this week….

Gut Microbes

Several years ago, I had a very bad bacterial infection that lasted 9 months and was finally cured with Chinese medicine, a clear liquid diet and a very healthy dose of probiotics.  So I am a big fan! I’ve seen them work wonders with some of my clients and I’m glad to see that a lot of hospitals are now recommending them to patients – BUT they need to be the right kind.

GUT MICROBES the next frontier in health and nutrition research. In other words, how does the good and bad bacteria in our guts impact our physical and mental health? Fascinating stuff!

We feed our guts “good” bacteria or probiotics when we consume fermented foods.  This includes the German “sauerkraut”, the Korean “kimchi” and the Japanese “tempeh, miso and natto.” Not the commercially produced ones, but the “live, raw and unpasteurized” types.

Fermentation is the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process, creating beer, wine, bread, kimchi, yogurt and other foods. Source: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/fermentation

SPECIES AND STRAINS

There are several different species of probiotics and they all play different roles. The two most common types are lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each species contains a variety of different strains. So for example, when you see the words L. acidophilus – L is the lactobacillus species and acidophilus is the strain. The primary dietary sources of this strain are yogurt, miso and tempeh.

BENEFITS

The biggest benefit that we know of is that they shorten the duration of acute infectious diarrhea – diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection and diarrhea associated with antibiotic use.  Who remembers taking antibiotics and then being told to counter-act them with a big bowl of yogurt?  Probiotics is the reason.

They help reduce bloating and gas in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and boost our immune system. Preliminary studies have shown that they may be beneficial in promoting weight loss (although this may be because it helps you absorb food), improve good oral and mental health.  More research is needed to confirm these benefits.

To learn more about probiotics – stay tuned for more blog posts this week.

http://www.anounceofnutrition.com

“Get Nutrition in Every School”

An Ounce of Nutrition is on a mission to get Nutrition in EVERY School! We challenge you to take the pledge and join us in promoting healthy choices for all students. Enter your name and email address on our website and then tell us why you think it’s important to get nutrition in every school (e.g. take the pledge) – then we’ll send you your “free” download of “HOW TO FUND YOUR NUTRITION PROGRAM” to help you bring nutrition into your school.

Why should you take the pledge?

Because……

  1. You can teach students skills that will last a lifetime!
  2. Well-nourished students are generally more focused on their school work and do better academically.
  3. Students who eat well will have more energy and be more alert in school and in life!
  4. Healthy food choices help prevent future chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
  5. Kids without grumbling tummies can concentrate better.
  6. Students make better food choices when they know their food is made and where it comes from and how it impacts their health.
  7. Food and nutrition education can be integrated into any subject to help bring it to life including; math, science, history or social sciences.
  8. You may experience less behavior issues in the classroom.
  9. Well-nourished students are generally absent less.

What are other reasons you can think of?  Take the pledge and tell us why nutrition should be in every school.  Go to: http://anounceofnutrition.com/take-the-pledge.html to take the pledge.

Hearts on Fire

Valentine’s Day week is a great time to share with students “foods that fuel their heart” – starting with the RED ones. When we are having a discussion about fruits and vegetables in our classes, I like to point out that the natural chemicals in them are responsible for their color. They give fruits and veggies vibrant, bright colors! These chemicals are known as “phytochemicals” or “phytonutrients.”  A good example is anti-oxidants, readily found in these foods. Although they do not contain nutrition, they are still responsible for helping to protect us from disease.

Although each color performs a multitude of disease-preventing functions that may cross over into other colors, I like to associate one color with one function to help students remember it.  Sooooo, the white ones protect your immune system, the orange/yellow protect your eyes and the green prevent against cancer.

So then what do the red ones do? Protects our “red” hearts of course!

The red ones contain a chemical called “lycopene” (found in tomatoes) that is responsible for its red pigment. Lycopene may inhibit the production of cholesterol and reduce LDL or the “not so good” cholesterol in your blood. Some studies have suggested too (although results are mixed) that higher concentrations of lycopene have been associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.

So what are some of the best “red” Valentine’s Day foods you could recommend to students to help melt their “beloved-ones” heart?

  •     Tomato soup
  •     Valentine’s Day salad topped with red heart tomatoes
  •     Red pepper dip
  •     Baked red snapper
  •     Spaghetti with red lentil pasta sauce
  •     Desserts with strawberries, raspberries or cherries

A simple, luxuriously sweet, “red” recipe that you can make with your students is Poached Pears in Raspberry Sauce.

Poached Pears in Raspberry Sauce  

poached-pears-in-raspberry-sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 firm Bosc or Bartlett pears
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • ¼ cup raspberry jam or jelly (I use jam that is fruit-juice sweetened and not from concentrate)
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh raspberries, strawberries and mint leaves for garnish

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Cut pears in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and core with a spoon.
  3. Place pears cut side down in a baking dish.
  4. Combine juice, jam or jelly, cinnamon or nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour sauce over pears and cover dish with foil.
  6. Place pears in the oven and bake until they are soft (about 25 minutes).
  7. To serve, place pears cut side up on serving dish. Spoon sauce from baking dish over them and garish with berries and mint.

A popular option now is instead of cutting pears in half; cook them whole and then serve  standing up dripped in raspberry sauce.   

Sugar is Sugar is Sugar – Really?

I’ve had many people tell me that they avoid fruit because of its sugar content.  But is it really the same as other sugars?

Basics: When sugar is broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, it causes the sugar levels in your blood to rise.  Your pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin to bring your sugar levels back down to normal, by pushing sugar into your cells. Your cells then release sugar in the form of energy to keep you going throughout the day. Sounds good, right?

But not all sugars have the same impact on your blood sugar levels.  Here’s the difference:

White table sugar or sugar is a highly processed, highly refined sugar.  It enters your blood stream rapidly and causes a significant spike in your blood sugar levels.  Large amounts of insulin are released from your pancreas to bring your sugar levels back down to normal, but sometimes it pushes them too low.  This results in what is known as the “sugar crash.” Headaches, feeling tired, lack of energy, inability to concentrate and craving more sugar may be the result.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is also an extremely refined, highly processed sugar – processed with sulfuric acid (think battery acid!). Because of their molecular structure, they are absorbed even more rapidly in the blood stream than sugar.  And they go straight to our liver where a bunch of chemical reactions turn them into fat. Over time, these fats build up in our liver and can result in a condition known as “non-alcoholic” fatty liver.  This condition may result in liver swelling or scarring (cirrhosis) and may even contribute to liver cancer or failure.

Fruit on the other hand is “sugar from nature.” It is absorbed much slower because of what it is packaged in.  Fruit is high in fiber!  Fiber slows the breakdown of sugar into our blood-stream.  This causes a slow rise in blood sugar and a small amount of insulin to be released from our pancreas.  This means that you have less blood sugar spikes and lows. A steady amount of blood sugar release gives you just enough to keep you alert and provides energy throughout the day. Fruit is generally high in water – so naturally low in calories and keeps you fuller longer. Plus fruit is generally loaded with Vitamin A and Vitamin C!

The bottom line, fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth without impacting your blood sugar levels, along with providing many other health benefits.  Sugar and HFCS – not so much.

Food for Thought: I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing the “sugar-crash” after they ate a piece of fruit! Have you?

Tune in for more discussions on sugar types in future posts……

Photo: Courtesy of “That Sugar Film”

Cranberry Bogs

Did you know? Cranberries have a natural antibiotic effect. Native Americans used them on wounds to stop bleeding.  They also used the red dye from the berries to decorate fabrics.  A fun activity to try with your students is to tie-dye a shirt with the juice from live cranberries.

As we reach the end of cranberry season, cranberry farmers put on their waders, walk into the cold autumn water and reel or comb the vibrant layer of red berries that float on the surface of the bog to pull them from their vines. Cranberries grow in a mineral rich environment of clay, sand, peat and gravel from the wetlands. In natural environments, the berries offer food to both wildlife and to beneficial fungi. This fungi allows the plant to absorb water and essential nutrients. They provide a symbiotic relationship; both helping each other’s growth. Not only is water harvesting a convenient way to farm this fruit, research has shown that by allowing the berries to float on the surface of water, there are better exposed to sunlight, increasing its phytonutrient (natural chemicals in plants that help protect us from disease) content and providing us with an increased array of health benefits.

The phytonutrients in cranberries known as anthocyanins are what helps protect us from urinary tract infections!

I often let students know that the red fruits and vegetables protect a red organ inside our bodies or our heart.  Red = healthy heart

Cranberries also protect us from cancer, boost our immune system, help with digestive support and protect the tissues in our mouth.

FUN FACTS

Here’s something fun to try with your students.  When cranberries are ripe, they bounce, and so are affectionately known as “bounceberries.”

Cranberries make us pucker:

They tend to be quite tart on their own. That’s not to say they aren’t edible raw, but most people prefer not to eat them like this. An eye-opening activity to do with students is to have them try both a raw cranberry and cooked cranberry and compare the tastes.

When cooked, they become much less sour (though still tart) and a bit sweeter. Of course homemade in their whole form is best.  Commercially bought dried cranberries tend to contain a bucket load of added sugar!

With the holidays in full swing, your students will most probably find cranberries on their tables.  Here are a couple of recipes to get them into the holiday spirit:

Recipes

This first recipe is a easy way to add fruit to things that your students already love. They can add it to sandwiches; smear it over a stick of celery or toast. Dip carrots or apple slices into it. It’s a simply recipe that takes little preparation time. Maybe encourage your students to make these as holiday gifts for family, friends, or their lovely teachers.

Cran-Apple Butter

cran-apple-butter

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz cranberries, frozen or fresh
  • 5 Apples, cored and large chop with skin intact (I prefer honey crisp apples)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp clove
  • ½ tsp all spice

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally.
  3. Once the apples have fully softened, puree all ingredients.
  4. Return the mixture to low heat on the stove and allow it to reduce to thicken. Stir occasionally.
  5. Once the mixture has reached a consistency that is thick and not runny, remove from heat and let it cool.
  6. Transfer contents into a jar and eat or store.

Cranberry Energy Bars

cranberry-oats-bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin seed butter or almond butter
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup pistachios, chopped
  • 5 tbs agave or honey
  • 1 2 tbs flax seed, ground
  • 2 tbs hemp seeds, hulled
  • 1/4 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Spread the oats over a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet and bake until slightly browned (about 8 minutes).
  3. Place the oats in a mixing bowl with the flax seeds, hemp seeds, cranberries, raisins and pistachios.
  4. Combine the pumpkin seed butter (or almond butter), honey (or agave),1 tsp of the coconut oil, salt, and cinnamon into a saucepan and cook over medium heat and stir until the mixture begins to melt.
  5. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients so they are all evenly coated.
  6. Coat an 8” square glass baking dish (or a similar size) with the remaining coconut oil and press the oat mixture into the bottom of the dish. Cut into it evenly to create the size bars desired.
  7. Bake at 350° for about 10-12 minutes.
  8. Let cool and separate bars.

Cauliflower, the New Comfort Food

In 1621 the pilgrims celebrated their first fall harvest. They held a ceremony to show gratitude for their good fortune and to give thanks. Over time this tradition became known as “Thanksgiving”. What you might imagine this to look like is quite a bit different than the stereotypical “Turkey Day” image of grandpa napping on a couch with a full belly, pumpkin pies, apple pies, pecan pies, stuffing, cranberry sauce, biscuits and a large juicy bird on the table and a football game.

While the original Thanksgiving was a gathering of family and community, their dining table looked a little different than what we are now accustomed to. The table they feasted at in 1621 had less overindulgence, less refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, and a wider variety of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables. I want to zoom in on one particular item on their Thanksgiving table, cauliflower.

Mark Twain said “a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education”. That’s because the cauliflower plant actually is in the same family as cabbage, along with kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts and broccoli. These are cruciferous or brassica vegetables. One of the most significant characteristic of vegetables in the Brassica family is that they contain glucosinolates, a phytochemical in some plants that releases a pungent taste when chewed.  

Cauliflower can be found in white, green, purple and orange varieties, each one offering different nutrients, dependent on their color.  In general cauliflower contains:

  • Glucosinolates
  • High amount of vitamin C
    • A powerful antioxidant that protects the immune system
  • Potassium
    • Keeps your heart beating and muscles from cramping
  • Manganese
    • Important for metabolism, bone development and wound healing
  • Vitamin K
    • Needed for bone development and helps stop bleeding when you have a cut
  • Fiber
    • Aids in healthy digestion and makes you feel full
  • Omega-3
    • Cauliflower is one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3. It’s important to fight of inflammation, regulate cholesterol levels and have been shown to help with helps keep our minds sharp.

Fun Fact: Romanesco Cauliflower is a great example of sacred geometry in food. Sacred geometry is a term used to describe patterns we see repeating themselves over and over in nature. They are the building blocks or seeds of nature. Pinecones or nautilus shells are other good examples of this. This has got to get your students excited about cauliflower because. . . well, it’s really cool!

romanesco-cauliflower

How To Cook It:

The recipes below provide a twist on traditional Thanksgiving recipes. Imagine Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes or stuffing… no thank you. But what if instead of the heavy bread and eggs for the stuffing or the potatoes for the mash, we lightened it up with cauliflower? Changing an unhealthy habit into healthy choices is made easier when we just tweak what we already know and love. This is a way to help your students add more vegetables in their diet and get excited about what they are eating.

Here are some other ideas on how to use cauliflower:

  • Cauliflower pizza crust
  • Cauliflower buffalo wings
  • Cauliflower hash
  • Cauliflower tots
  • Cauliflower tacos (see recipe in previous beet article here)
  • Cauliflower fried “rice”

You can also throw it into an omelet, drizzle some oil on it and roast it, puree it into soup, toss it in a stew or curry, or make a sauce and to dip it in and eat it raw.

Mashed Cauliflower

mashed-cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 heads cauliflower, florets, rough chop
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock per every cup of cauliflower
  • 3 tbs plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

(Optional) chives, rosemary or parsley for garnish or 2 tbs chopped and mixed in

Directions:

  1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a saucepan, add the cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until cauliflower is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of the oil on a pan and lightly sauté garlic on low heat until it begins to brown. Set aside.
  3. Reserve cooking liquid and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add yogurt, garlic and seasonings and blend until smooth. Slowly add in the oil and then the cooking liquid until you reach desired creaminess.
  4. (Optional) Mix in fresh parsley or chives.
  5. Serve and eat.

Cauliflower Stuffing

Cauliflower Stuffing.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, florets rough chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, dice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup polenta, dried
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp sage powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Put cauliflower florets into food processor and pulse until it is small and rice-like.
  2. Bring vegetable stock to a boil. Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper and sage and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer until it becomes tender and reaches a porridge like consistency, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the vegetable oil. Over medium heat, add the onions, carrots and celery. Once these have softened, add the mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and parsley for an additional minute or two.
  4. Once the cauliflower has finished cooking, add the polenta and stir for about 3 minutes. Then, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Serve and eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!: Pumpkins as FOOD!

Halloween is over, but pumpkin season most certainly is not! Pumpkins are considered a winter squash, which means that they are harvested in the autumn but last all the way through the winter season. This is a great way to get fresh vegetables on to our plates in the colder months. In fact, in the past (before freezers, canned goods and imported foods), pumpkins and other winter squashes were an essential item in the kitchen to making it through the winter with enough food.

Today, we most commonly know pumpkins for pumpkin lattes and jack-o-lanterns. As it turns out though, those lattes are flavored with sugar and artificial flavoring, and no pumpkin at all. And our Halloween decorations, which are hybrid pumpkins known as Aladdin pumpkins, were developed particularly for their ability to be carved instead of for the purpose of being eaten.

While carving pumpkins doesn’t make a great meal, their seeds (and the seeds of all pumpkins varieties) are still widely used and full of nutrients. So let your students carve their pumpkins, but encourage them to roast, toast or sprout those seeds too!

Try using pumpkin seeds for seed butter, in a trail mix, as a topping for salads, soups, desserts, and cereals or grind it up to be used in dressings or put in a flour mix.

Pumpkin seeds are packed with:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • High Iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, folate, niacin and selenium
  • Healthy fats
  • Antimicrobial properties (antifungal and antiviral)

There are now over 40 varieties of pumpkins that vary in color, shape, size and texture. Larger pumpkins tend to have a stringier and bitter quality compared to the smaller, sweeter ones used in most recipes. While jack-o-lanterns aren’t meant to be eaten, there are many pumpkins that are. Some varieties often used for cooking are labeled as Pie Pumpkins or Sugar Pumpkins, Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Lumina, Ghost Rider, Cinderella. Fairy Tale, Jarrahdale, Peanut, Lakota, and Cow Pumpkins.

These all generally have a similar taste, but their key notes and texture do differ. For a fun activity to do with students, purchase a couple different types of pumpkins, roast them, and see if your students are able to tell the difference in taste between them. Then see which ones they think would be better used in pies, in soups and other applications.

I doubt you are going to find any pumpkin that will turn into gold and become your midnight carriage ride like Cinderella, but here are some ways you can use pumpkins: in pies, breads, smoothies, roasted to be thrown in quinoa, salads or a vegetable medley, put in soups and stews, used as a cooking and serving vessel (ditch the bread bowl, try a pumpkin bowl!). Really, the options are limitless.

Encourage creativity from your students to see if they can come up with an idea of how pumpkins can be used in an entrée of each meal, as an appetizer, side dish, dessert, as a snack and in a beverage.

pumpkin-pie-smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

  • 12 oz Unsweetened almond milk
  • 5 dates, rough chop
  • ½  cup Winter Luxury Pumpkin, cut in half and gutted
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover the pumpkin with foil and roast until it is tender enough to pierce with a fork. Allow the pumpkin to cool.
  2. Scoop the pumpkin meat from the skin. Put ½ a cup of pumpkin into the blender and set the rest aside to use for more smoothies.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Pour into a cup, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon and enjoy!

pumpkin-chili

Pumpkin Chili

  • 1 Long Island Cheese Pumpkin (or other pumpkin suitable for stews), gutted and
  • kept whole (reserve ¼ cup pumpkin seeds)
  • 32 oz vegetable stock
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large carrots (orange, white and purple if possible), rough chop
  • 2 yellow pepper, medium dice
  • 2 red onions, rough chop
  • 2 large poblano peppers, medium dice
  • 1 cup white beans, dried and soaked over night or longer
  • ¼ cup scallions, minced
  • 3-4 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs sage powder
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Pepper, 1 tbs

1. Soak the beans over night, thoroughly rinsing before using.

2. Preheat the oven to 425

3. Cut around the stem of the pumpkin so that it can be gutted while keeping

the rest of the pumpkin intact.

4. Rinse pumpkin seeds and set aside. And toast with on a dry pan until they

start to brown. Let cool.

5. Lightly coat the inside of the pumpkin with 1 tsp olive oil and let roast until

the inside is soft enough to be easily penetrated with a knife. (About an 1-1.5

hrs- times vary depending on size and type of pumpkin used)

6. Place the tomatoes with the cut side face down in a pan with 1 tbs of olive oil

on medium heat. Once the juices start to leak out, flip over and allow to cook

for another 5 minutes.

7. Let the pumpkin cool enough to touch and without cutting through the skin

of the pumpkin, cut around the inside walls of the pumpkin to remove the

meat. Leave a thin layer of the pumpkin meat on the walls so that the

pumpkin is strong enough to be used as a serving vessel.

8. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes. Puree the ingredients using a blender

or immersion blender.

9. In a stockpot, sweat the onions with a small amount of olive oil.

10. Once translucent, add in the carrots and peppers for 5 minutes, occasionally

stirring. Add in the garlic, Once the garlic starts to brown, add the chili

powder, pepper and sage and transfer the pureed mixture into the pot and

bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

11. Add the beans.

12. Meanwhile, shell the pumpkin seeds. Add the remaining amount of olive oil

and the rest of the chili powder. Toast on light heat until crunchy.

13. Once beans are tender, add the salt and remove from heat.

14. Pour the chili back into the pumpkin shell.

15. Sprinkle scallions and pumpkin seeds on top of the chili.