Earlier today, I read a statistic that 99% of pumpkins marketed domestically are sold as jack-o-lanterns. A little bit later, I went for a walk and noticed that a florist in my neighbourhood was selling pumpkins and various other sorts of winter squash, marketed as decorations, and at an outrageous price to boot. I had a this fleeting moment where I considered stuffing as many of them as I could carry under my arms and running down the street yelling, “squash is not a decoration!!!” at the top of my lungs, which then made me think about those people who buy live lobsters from those lobster tanks at restaurants just so they can set them free. Except that I would have eaten the squash in the end, so it isn’t quite the same. And it was snowing, and I don’t want to get kicked out of Sweden, so I didn’t do anything outlandish. To be clear, and so I don’t start getting hate mail from interior decorators or Martha Stewart, I don’t have anything against using squash as a decoration. Just so long as it eventually gets eaten.
The response from the post I put up earlier this week, about how to process a pumpkin, has been great. But if you’re not yet convinced, or if you’re thinking to yourself, yeah okay, it sounds neat and all, but what the heck am I going to do with all that pumpkin puree? Let me tell you this: the pumpkin I processed last week is all gone. Already. All eight cups of it. So I need to do another. Maybe several more. I’m in a state of total pumpkin puree panic.
And pumpkin is dang good for you! Pumpkin, and other yellow fleshed winter squash, are jam packed full of carotenes, which is the compound ultimately responsible for their colour, and also is a pre-cursor to Vitamin A (you need that so you can see). Pumpkin also contains a good dose of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese. Mmmmm.
I thought that in case there were any of you who needed a little more convincing, I’d go ahead and post a recipe for some tasty pumpkin oat-bran muffins so you’d have one more reason to process a pumpkin. These muffins are simple, highlighting the taste and colour of the pumpkin, with only a few added spices to pump up the flavour; ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are classic pairings with pumpkin. These muffins use oat-bran, which is a change from the wheat bran I normally use. If you can’t find oat-bran, or, say, it’s cold out where you are and you don’t want to leave the warmth of your kitchen to go find some, you could sub in an equal amount of rolled oats – but not the quick cooking kind. I really like raisins in my pumpkin muffins, I always feel like they’re missing something if there aren’t any raisins. But I know plenty of people who don’t like them, so if they aren’t your thing, then leave them out, or sub something else in. They’re you’re muffins, after all.
Pumpkin Oat-Bran Muffins Recipe:
Toasting the pumpkin seeds in a dry hot pan for a few minutes brings out their flavour, and adds a lot of crunch to this recipe. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn, and pull them off of the heat as soon as you start to notice their delicious nutty smell.
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, lightly scrambled
1/3 cup packed light brown muscovado sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup oatbran
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. Prepare 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and oat bran. Set aside. In a medium bowl sift together dry ingredients. Gently stir the dry ingredients into wet, careful not to over mix. Reserve 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds for the muffin tops, but stir the rest, along with the raisins, into the muffin mix. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, and bake for 30 min, rotating pans half way through.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2010