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Take Part in Pumpkin

Kate Hamilton November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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It’s the season for warmed cider, brisk walks, falling leaves and the American tradition of Thanksgiving. One of my fondest memories growing up was diving into a large piece of my mom’s pumpkin pie topped with a generous helping of whipped cream. I reveled in its smooth texture and spicy flavor, complemented by the accents of sweetened condensed milk and sugary cream. Today, it’s one of my favorite desserts that I often request for birthdays, holidays and special occasions.

Grown on six of the seven continents, pumpkin plants are vegetables that produce an edible fruit that is commonly orange in color when ripe. A member of the Cucurbitaceae—or gourd—family, it has a long relationship with American history, frequently associated with the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving and considered a classic treat for fall.


This low-fat, low-sodium food is packed with potassium, vitamin A, and the antioxidants lutein, and alpha- and beta-carotene. Adding this healthy ingredient can reduce your risk of developing certain cancers and protect against heart disease. One cup of cooked pumpkin has only 80 calories. With its mild taste, pumpkins make great breads, soups, custards and butters.

In the kitchen

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Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Soup

1 small pumpkin (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)

1 small onion, diced

1 teaspoon cold-pressed oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves

6 cups vegetable stock

Coarse sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1⁄2 cup nonfat yogurt, for garnish

8 parsley sprigs or chives, for garnish

1. Cut pumpkin in half and seed.

2. Arrange pumpkin on a baking sheet, placing the cut sides down. Bake in a 350˚ F oven for 1–1 1⁄2 hours, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool. Peel away skin and discard.

3. In a large heavy saucepan, sauté onion with oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add chopped celery and carrot. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Add cooked pumpkin and spices. Stir in vegetable stock and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

4. In a blender or food processor, puree mixture until smooth. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

5. Serve immediately in warmed bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of nonfat yogurt from a squeeze bottle, and top with a sprig of parsley or chives.

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