Delightfully Healthy! Sugar Pumpkins & Starkrimson Pears

Tasting Friday 10/7 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm

The fragrance of pumpkin butter fills the kitchen with memories of falls in seasons past! It makes a good pair with apple slices, whole grain pancakes or toast, pita chips, or even mixed into yogurt. The creamy consistency and sweet flavor makes this spread scrumptious in every way.

Names can be deceiving and sugar pumpkins are no exception! Although regular pumpkins are fun to carve, they are watery and mealy which makes for a difficult ingredient. Sugar pumpkins are a smaller, more flavorful pumpkin; therefore, it is a better pumpkin to use when cooking. Pumpkins contain a good amount of vitamin A and potassium, while providing small amounts of vitamin C. This is almost identical to the nutrient profile of squash. Although we tend to differentiate pumpkins and squash, pumpkins are a type of squash. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which encompasses squash and gourds.

Another unique variety of fall produce is the starkrimson pear. Starkrimson pears are recognizable by their radiant crimson color and mildly floral, sweet flavor. They are the perfect addition—in both color and taste—to leafy greens in a salad.

This fruit is abundant in anthocyanins (think reds and blues) and other antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they destroy free radicals, chemicals that can damage body tissue and accelerate aging and diseases. Additionally, the starkrimson pear is an excellent source of fiber, providing 22% of the recommended daily value. Fiber is important for a number of reasons, but it is particularly beneficial in keeping you full longer and helping to regulate blood sugar and digestion. These pears also have a decent amount of copper (17%), vitamin C (10%), and vitamin K (9%).

The pear balsamic salad is a wonderful side dish. The candied walnuts and crisp pear make a delicious bite, especially when combined with fresh greens, tart dried cherries and balsamic vinaigrette.

Pumpkin Butter Recipe

Adapted from: seriouseats.com

Ingredients

1 medium sugar pumpkin (about 2 1/2 pounds), washed

1 ½ cups apple cider

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 

Directions

  1. Wash pumpkin well and peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into 1- to 1 ½-inch cubes. Place cubes in a large saucepan. Pour in apple cider; it should be enough to barely cover the pumpkin cubes about halfway. If not, add water.
  3. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Cook, stirring once or twice, until completely tender, about 30 minutes. Puree mixture with hand blender, or blend in standing blender in two batches, and return to pot.
  4. Add maple syrup, brown sugar, and spices and simmer very gently over medium-low heat, uncovered. Cook, stirring and scraping bottom occasionally until thick and spreadable and bubbles that form in it burst very slowly, about 40 minutes longer.
  5. Allow the pumpkin butter to cool to room temperature. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

 

Pear Balsamic Salad

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

WALNUTS

1 heaping cup (130 g) raw walnuts

2 tsp olive or coconut oil

1 Tbsp (12 g) coconut sugar

2 tsp maple syrup

Pinch sea salt

Pinch ground cinnamon

optional: Pinch cayenne pepper

 

DRESSING

1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

Pinch each sea salt and black pepper

 

SALAD

1 6-ounce (170 g) bag mixed greens, organic when possible

1 ripe Bosc or Bartlett Pear, thinly sliced lengthwise, stem and seeds removed

1/4 cup (35 g) dried cherries (or cranberries, though cherries are best!)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and add raw walnuts to a baking sheet.
  2. Toast walnuts for 7 minutes. Then remove from oven and add remaining ingredients directly to the walnuts (oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, sea salt, cinnamon). Use a spatula to thoroughly toss/combine.
  3. Place back in oven and roast for another 4-6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a jar (or mixing bowl) and shaking vigorously (or whisking) to combine. Set aside.
  5. To serve, add greens, the sliced pear, dried cherries, and the roasted walnuts to a large mixing/serving bowl. Drizzle with a bit of the dressing and toss.

 

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