Just like there are many different varieties of apples or pears, there are actually many kinds of pumpkins. Pumpkins that are intended to be carved for Halloween are technically edible, but their flavor is watery and bland. You can find small pumpkins called pie pumpkins (or sugar babies) in the grocery store now, but it is also worth your while to check out your local farmers market too. I have been thrilled with the flavor of two different blue pumpkins - the walls of the pumpkin are really thick and the texture is smooth. These kinds of pumpkin are similar in flavor to a butternut squash.
There are several easy methods to cook a fresh pumpkin outlined here - my favorite is roasting because of the caramel flavor that develops, but you can easily cook your pumpkin in the microwave, in a slow cooker or in a pot on the stove. Carefully cut your pumpkin into wedges using a sharp knife, use an ice-cream scoop to remove seeds and stringy bits and roast in the oven until well browned and very soft. Extra pumpkin mush freezes well.
This recipe for pumpkin muffins is 2/3 whole grains, has minimal oil and is delicious. You can freeze extras and pull them out for a fast kid-friendly breakfast or an afternoon snack. If 20 muffins is too many for your house hold, simply half the recipe.
Makes about 20 muffins
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin cups with non-stick spray or line with paper muffin cups.
- Cook and mash pumpkin. Reserve two cups and save the rest for another recipe.
- To pumpkin puree, add sugar, oil, apple sauce, water, eggs and vanilla. Stir or whisk until smooth.
- Add flours, oats, baking powder and spices. Stir just until moistened.
- Add nuts and chocolate chips and stir just until mixed in. Do not over mix - this makes tough muffins.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool on a clean tea towel or cooling rack and enjoy.
|Freshly roasted pumpkin puree|
|Adding oats and flour|
|Ready to eat!|