If you’re making jack-o-lanterns for Hallowe’en this year, you’ll end up with a lot of pumpkin flesh and seeds.
Hence the sudden annual surge in consumption of pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin…and so on and so forth. There are plenty of recipes out there, and you’ll notice that they all include spices of one sort or another: cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin tend to be the most popular.
There’s a good reason for this, apart from the fact that pumpkin itself doesn’t taste of anything much.
Pumpkins and gourds are quite high in starch, and ‘cool’ in terms of digestibility. They need those warming herbs or spices to make them more digestible as well as tastier. They’re not particularly nutritious, but they can make a satisfying meal on a cold autumn day.
The seeds, however, are a different matter; throw them away and you’re losing the best part of the pumpkin.
They are a rich source of zinc, especially if you leave the shell on, and that makes them useful in all sorts of inflammatory conditions; prostatitis in particular has been well researched. They contain various other antioxidants and minerals, too, and are a good source of vitamin E. Other conditions where they may be of benefit include diabetes and some types of cancer.
You can eat them raw, but again, they are much tastier if you roast them with some seasoning. No more than 20 minutes’ roasting is recommended, to keep the oils from breaking down. Toss them in a little olive oil with paprika, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.