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Pumpkins Are Great, Charlie Brown

More than just a Halloween prop, pumpkins are nutritious and rather versatile.

They can weigh a pound or 1810 pounds. They have seams from the stem to the base. They are usually orange or yellow but can be white, red, or grey.

Any guesses?

They are full of pepitas. Ok, how bout this one, they are most popular at Halloween.

Ahha !!! Pumpkins, of course.
 
This versatile plant is grown on six continents. It originated in North America and fossil seeds have been dated to 7000 B.C. It's vines produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. It is full of vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients too plentiful to list. Yet most of us view the pumpkin as a holiday ornament or a contest entry at the state fair. Yes, last year the record was set with an Atlantic Giant at 1810 pounds.
 
It can be used in breads and cakes or soups and bisques. It can be roasted with fall vegetable. It makes a killer pie. Pepitas or pumpkins seeds are a nutritious snack. In fact it is so versatile that over a trillion pounds are grown around the world every year.

from just about every cuisine I could think of, from pumpkin ravioli to Indian Kada Ka Halwa. In Thailand  they fill small pumpkins shells with custard and slowly roast them and Japanese chefs relish them for a sweet crispy tempura. I was actually dumbfounded at the number of recipes I found for pumpkins!
 
I will admit that carving Jack-o lanterns is my favorite thing to do with a pumpkin but I do save and roast the seeds. My second favorite thing is making  pumpkin bisque served in single portion pumpkin shells.
 
In a medium size pot saute a medium white onion diced fine along with about five or six cloves of garlic. Once the onion gets soft add a quart of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add two pounds of clean diced pumpkin.

In about 20 minutes strain the cubes of pumpkin and puree them in a food processor or blender. Pour it back into the stock pot and season with a pinch of thyme, a pinch of ginger, and pinch of nutmeg. Let the mixture thicken for about ten minutes or so and add a quart of heavy cream . Season with salt and pepper and cover on low heat.

While your bisque is finishing take four small pumpkins and remove the top third. Clean and wash the inside and coat the shell with cooking oil or cooking spray. Place the shells in a hot oven about 450 degrees until the edges start to brown. This will not take long. Ladle your soup into the hot shells and serve.

Like Linus said to Charlie Brown " There is so a Great Pumpkin" !

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