Pumpkin, pumpkin!

Pumpkins are very versatile and useful.

In the United States pumpkins are usually thought of as a fall time decoration or ingredient in recipes such as pie or soup. A few years ago I fell in love with a wonderful book series that is based on a female detective in Botswana. The lead character Precious, loves to cook pumpkins for dinner most nights. Boerpampoen translates to a farmer’s pumpkin and is most likely the variety that my favorite sleuth is consuming for dinner or as a side dish. This type of pumpkin can withstand the harsh environments found in Botswana. This pumpkin is usually white and green in color and has a flattish appearance.

Some types of pumpkins that grow well in Michigan’s versatile climate are small, jack o’laterns, Kentucky fields, jackpot and big max. Pumpkin is a wonderful food and makes a great side dish. Pumpkin is an orange produce and contains beta-carotene. One cup of pumpkin contains approximately 197 percent of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to keep our skin healthy, improves our vision and maintains overall good eye health. Not only is it great to eat, it has many other uses for body and hair. Pumpkin literally is a food that makes you beautiful inside and out. Because of pumpkins high vitamin A content, it makes wonderful facial scrubs and shampoos.

Michigan State University Extension encourages you to visit your local farmers market this fall season to pick your own pumpkins. Once you have your pumpkin, try the below recipe to share with others and celebrate the season.

Botswana Cinnamon Pumpkin

Ingredients

Pumpkin (pie sized)/butternut squash

1 teaspoon sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of butter (for fry pan)

Directions

1. Cut pumpkin into inch sized chunks. Parboil the pumpkin in salted water with the cinnamon sticks and sugar very briefly as it can soften quickly.
2. Heat up the frying pan, melt the butter and add the strained pumpkin pieces in a single layer to avoid crushing them. Reduce the heat so that the pumpkin does not get too brown. Turn over to allow other side to brown.

Enjoy as a side dish to your favorite meal!

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