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pumpkin soup

Pumpkins!

Posted by Mary Liz Wright -

What is a sure sign of fall? You might think: leaves, bonfires, football? No! It's pumpkin spice! The flavoring is everywhere: cereals, cookies, tea, syrup and even cheese and dog treats! Just what is this mixture that America has fallen in love with? A combination of common spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. Sometimes it does not even include pumpkin!

Now, I like pumpkin and I like the spicy scent of pumpkin spice, but I'm not ready to have it mixed in with my cheese. I do, however, like soup, pie, cookies, dip, pudding—you get the picture. This humble squash is high in Vitamins A & C, Potassium and fiber and has no fat or sodium. This super food can be served sweet or savory. You can buy it canned (probably grown right here in Illinois—the country's largest producer of pumpkins) or cook your own.

To cook your own, it's best to buy a "pie pumpkin", my current favorite, thanks to Ken Brooks from Papa's Produce, is Winter's Luxury. It is the best tasting pumpkin I've ever eaten. Jack o lanterns are great for carving (Native Americans dried the flesh and wove them into floor mats), not so much for eating.

Visit your Farmers Market or local pumpkin patch to purchase a cooking pumpkin and get ready for a treat! The taste will be much more subtle and sweeter than the canned variety. When purchasing pumpkins estimate 1 pound of raw pumpkin to yield 1 cup cooked pulp.

To make your own pumpkin puree:

  1. Wash the pumpkin
  2. Cut around the pumpkin top to bottom, leaving you with 2 halves
  3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp (save the seeds to plant next year and roast a few for snacks)
  4. Cut the pumpkin into manageable pieces
  5. Place cut side down on a parchment or tin foil covered baking pan
  6. Cook 45-60 minutes at 350° or until fork tender
  7. Remove from oven, cool and scrape out pulp, process in a blender or food processor
  8. Use immediately or label and freeze in freezer bags

For more info, recipes and interesting facts go to: https://extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins

Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip

¾ cup canned pumpkin

¾ cup peanut butter

1-4 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients until well blended and serve with graham crackers, bread, apple slices, celery sticks, etc.

Nutrition Facts (per 1 Tablespoon) - Calories 50 ~ fat 2.5 g ~ calories from fat 20 ~ sodium 25 mg ~ total carbohydrate 7 g ~ fiber 0 g

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250.

Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1/2 - 1 hour more or until crunchy.

*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Pancakes


1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

1 cup whole wheat or oat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt (optional)

2 TBLSP brown sugar

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¾ cup canned pumpkin

1 ¾ cups skim milk

1 tsp. vanilla

3 TBLSP vegetable oil

4 egg whites slightly beaten


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. In another bowl mix together pumpkin, milk, vanilla, oil and eggs
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry, mixing only until all dry ingredients are moistened
  4. Spoon batter, by ¼ cup, onto greased preheated skillet
  5. Cook pancakes until bubbly, turn and continue cooking until golden brown
  6. Serve warm with sugar free syrup or warm canned fruit

Nutrition facts ( per 2 pancakes)-calories 210~fat 7g~sodium 300mg~total carbohydrate 30g~ fiber 3 g

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

1 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 1/4 cups pumpkin

Mix together until well blended. Heat and serve over pancakes.

Pumpkin Pudding

1 large (5.1 ounces) package instant vanilla pudding mix, sugar free

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

Mix together, then add 1 cup skim milk

Serve with apple slices or whole grain crackers

Pumpkin Soup

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 TBSP vegetable oil

2 cups chicken broth

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups evaporated milk (fat free)

2 cups (1 15 oz can of pumpkin)

Saute' onion and garlic in oil

Add broth and seasoning, bring to a boil

Cover and reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes

Combine evaporated milk and pumpkin then add to soup

Cook stirring constantly until heated—DO NOT BOIL

150 calories, 4.5g fat, 930 mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate



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