Risen up the ranks
The humble pumpkin has risen up the ranks: whilst once looked upon as food for the poor and confined to industrial use as a means to stretch fruit spreads, pumpkin today is a firm favourite in any vegetarian buffet and has even made its way into the repertoire of high-end gourmet restaurants.
An all-rounder in the kitchen
No wonder: pumpkins are unbeatably versatile. Because their own taste is subtle, they can easily be paired with other ingredients and spices. There’s practically nothing that can’t be cooked from pumpkins, with the popular classics being purée, risotto and soup.
They make a great ingredient for breads or muffins, and also work well as a sweet mousse or fruity sorbet. Anyone looking for a delicious warm meal in autumn need look no further: simply brush pumpkin slices with olive oil, season, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and bake in the oven. A slice of bread is enough to perfect this quick and easy meal.
Tasty and healthy
Pumpkins taste delicious in all imaginable variations. They are also digestible and healthy:
- They consist of 90 percent water and are therefore low in calories.
- Pumpkins also contain numerous minerals such as iron and potassium.
- Pumpkin seeds have a particularly high concentration of vitamins, minerals and protein. Peeled and roasted, they form the ideal snack and are a popular topping for mueslis, soups and salads.
- The body converts this provitamin into vitamin A, which helps to keep the skin and mucous membranes healthy and contributes to good eyesight.
The pumpkin is one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth. Like aubergines or cucumbers, they are fruit vegetables, i.e. vegetable plants with edible fruits growing above ground. Creative cooks also like to use the sprouts, flowers and leaves of the pumpkin plant. There are several hundred varieties of pumpkin, differing in shape, colour and size. The following varieties are particularly popular and well-known:
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Barley risotto with pumpkin
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 1/3 of a butternut squash
- 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
- 200 g mushrooms
- 2 tbsp. walnuts
- 1 small piece of butter
- 3 sprigs of sage
- 60 g barley
- 1 small bag of spinach
- 80 g Gorgonzola
- Salt and pepper
- Put barley in boiling water and cook according to packet instructions. While this is cooking, de-seed the pumpkin and cut into small dice. Clean and quarter the mushrooms. Pick sage leaves from stalks.
- Place the diced pumpkin in a large pan with olive oil and fry until brown. Add a little salt and pepper. Continue frying the pumpkin. After approx. 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the pumpkin is soft.
- Move the vegetables to one side of the pan. In the other, quickly heat the butter with the sage until foaming. Add the barley and spinach to the pan and mix.
- Serve the barley risotto sprinkled with crumbled Gorgonzola and walnuts.
Tips for storage
Pumpkins should be stored dry and cool. How long they can be kept depends on the variety: spaghetti squashes last a few weeks, hokkaidos up to four months, butternuts up to one year.
Sliced pumpkin halves can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. First remove the seeds and fibrous flesh, and wrap in cling film.
It is also possible to freeze pumpkin, but only cooked: either as a purée or as steamed slices or cubes still firm to the bite. Use within six months.