It’s Halloween. On this day which has become synonymous with candy, candy, candy, I like to make a special sweet treat which is not only much healthier (granted, it’s not hard to be healthier than candy), but also celebrates the produce, colors, flavors and aromas of fall.
Pumpkins are wonderfully high in antioxidants and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Although the jack-o-lantern creations I see this time are year can be quite beautiful, I prefer to eat this highly nutritious vegetable, rather than simply carve it and then throw it away.
Spices are also a good source of antioxidants, so use them liberally in all your cooking and baking.
Fruit Filled Pumpkin
- 1 roughly 10 to 12 inch pie pumpkin or winter squash (such as acorn, butternut or red kuri) with a stem.
- 4 tart apples, pears or a combination, cored and cut into cubes with the skin still on.
- 1 cup raisins and/or other dried fruit
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 2 oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
- at least 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and/or cloves
- a pinch of salt
- Wash pumpkin or squash, leaving the stem attached. Carve out a 5-6 inch circle around the top surrounding the stem, as if you were making a jack-o-lantern, and save the top.
- Dig out the seeds and flesh (you can roast the seeds and the flesh is great in the compost pile).
- Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and spoon them into the hollowed out pumpkin or squash. Place lid on top and bake in 350˚ oven for 45-60 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked.
- Serve warm by scooping out filling together with some pumpkin or squash. You may want to serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla yogurt or a vegan equivalent.