Pumpkin Mon Amour
A zero waste vegetable for great satisfaction
Since I started my adventure with the family vegetable garden some vegetables have proved to be a real disappointment, while others have definitely become part of my hot list, not only at the culinary level. Pumpkin, for example, was already among my favorite vegetables to be consumed in the cold season, but I had always bought it in single-portion slices and bound to soups and creamy soups; now that I cultivate it in my garden I have gradually discovered its many advantages and has become for me the undisputed queen of the winter period.
Pumpkin is a low-calorie vegetable rich in water, mineral salts and vitamins that can also be used freely in low-calorie diets: its quantity of liquids also helps diuresis and problems with constipation. Its pulp has soothing properties and benefits in case of burns and inflammation of the skin. Its taste is suitable for savory and sweet recipes and can be grown in many varieties, including purely aesthetic and non-edible ones.
It is true that it requires a rich fertilization and enough space to develop its long shoots, but it produces abundant large fruits that can be stored throughout the winter in a dark, cool and dry environment, therefore it always gives great satisfactions also to the inexperienced peasant. If you have the possibility, I suggest to fertilize it with abundant wood ash to obtain a sweeter pulp.
Last year I bought a packet of mixed pumpkin seeds from Ingegnoli, to try different varieties than the Butternut I had sown the year before. Needless to say, the result was amazing not only for the quality of the vegetables, but also for the variety that allowed me to taste: I did not know the Hokkaido pumpkin, for example, and I was very surprised by its taste that vaguely resembles the chestnut. Among my favorite varieties there is the Trombetta di Albenga that can be consumed as still immature as if it were a long courgette or maturity completed like a pumpkin.
Apart from some baby varieties, pumpkins are generally large vegetables: unless you are a large family, once you cut a pumpkin you have to make several recipes before the vegetables deteriorate. Surely you already know the Mantuan tortelli, you have already tried the velvety and maybe you have already tasted the roasted pumpkin with potatoes … but have you ever tried to eat it raw?
When I have a few pieces of pumpkin, I blend them with a persimmon and a couple of carrots to create a smoothie rich in beta-carotene and minerals, which with its bright color gives you joy at first sight! You can eat it at breakfast, as a snack or as a light and healthy lunch, accompanied with dried fruit and yogurt or milk, even vegetable ones. If you do not like the taste of persimmon or if you are out of season, you can replace it with a banana to get a similar consistency.
Creamy pumpkin smoothie for a full tank of vitamin A
- A cup of pumpkin cut into small pieces
- A persimmon
- Two carrots
- Water to taste
- Milk or yogurt of your choice (plant based if you like)
After preparing all your recipes, do not throw away the waste: the pumpkin is a perfect zero-waste vegetable. You can bake it directly with its peel which, in addition to being a concentrate of precious fibers and micronutrients, can be a fun alternative for the presentation of your dishes. If instead you have peeled the pumpkin to use only the pulp, you can recycle the peel in a creamy legume soup to accentuate the creaminess or you can bake it in the oven to get fanciful chips. Even the seeds can be roasted in the oven and munched as a snack: just wash them (salt them if you wish) and let them dry well. If you are curious to find out some tips on how to reduce food waste in general, we talked about it in this article.
Obviously I use the skin serenely in my recipes because the pumpkins I use come from my garden and are therefore organic and free from pesticides or surface treatments; if you use the peel of vegetables and fruit in your recipes make sure that these are grown organically.