It’s that time of year when everything turns orange! Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin hummous, bread, and seeds…the cravings kick in with the first nippy autumn evening. It’s definitely a nutritional powerhouse worth taking advantage of this time of year.
What is interesting about pumpkin (as well as all of its cousins in the squash and melon families), is that it if minimizing exposure to chemicals and pesticides is important to you, this is a vegetable it is especially important to purchase from an organic farmer. You might assume, that because this vegetable has a skin that you can peel and discard, that it would be safer from pesticides than a lot of other vegetables. However, vegetables and fruits in this family are unique for their tendency to absorb contaminant chemicals such as residual DDT and DDT derivatives from the ground. So much so, that farmers often plant squash in between plantings of other crops to pull harmful contaminants out of the soil and improve soil quality.
Just to be safe, be sure anything you purchase in the squash family (summer zucchini, winter squash, pumpkin, any kind of melon) comes from an organic farm, which is less likely to be using chemicals on an ongoing basis that have any need to be removed from the soil.
Any pumpkin or squash you select at the Mar Vista, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, or other local farmer’s market, is going to be a better bet than what you might find in the store. If you’re looking for canned pumpkin to cook with over the holiday, now might be a good time to stock up so you have plenty on hand. I picked up some canned organic pumpkin at Trader Joe’s yesterday, and am looking forward to trying this recipe (from www.sheknows.com) for pumpkin pie oatmeal tomorrow at breakfast.
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
- 1-1/4 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups water or vegan milk alternative of your choice plus more for consistency
- 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup crushed pecans
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring oats and water or milk to a low boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until oats are tender and liquid is absorbed. Add more water or milk to adjust consistency to your liking.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together pumpkin, sugar, spices, and vanilla.
- Stir pumpkin into oatmeal, adding more milk, if necessary, until you get desired consistency.
- Spoon into bowls and garnish with pecans. Serve hot.
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