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HEARTh & HOME – A New Tradition – Pumpkins and Acorn Squash

By Janae Jean

In North America, pumpkins and other winter squash are synonymous with fall. Pumpkin pies, lattés, breads, muffins and more are everywhere as well as squash soups and risottos. While you may think that pumpkin and squash look very different from one another, pumpkin is actually a variety of winter squash and both are members of the gourd family which also includes cucumber, melon and zucchini. These plants originated in Central America and Mexico but are now grown on six continents.

North Americans have cultivated pumpkins for five thousand years. They come in white, blue, green, red and yellow varieties as well as the ubiquitous orange ones. Pumpkin is a low-calorie and versatile ingredient that can be added to savory dishes as well as sweet desserts. Pumpkin is a healthful addition to any meal with twice the daily recommendation for vitamin A, high levels of vitamin C and fiber in each one cup serving.

While there are many popular types of winter squash, acorn squash is a perennial favorite. Acorn squash is also known as pepper squash and is known for its mellow flavor. It pairs well with diverse ingredients such as maple, sage, nutmeg or garlic.

For November’s recipes, we are creating a savory entrée or side-dish with pumpkin and a healthful dessert option with acorn squash. Both of these dishes are welcome additions to the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Choosing indigenous foods to complement a family celebration is one way we can honor the gifts of the harvest season.

Pumpkin Wild Rice Risotto

1 small white onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 cup wild rice, white rice and
brown rice blend
32 ounces vegetable broth1 cup cooked pumpkin purée
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan with lid, cook the diced onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium high heat until onion is clear. Add the rice and dried sage to toast. In a small bowl mix apple cider vinegar and water. Deglaze the pan with the apple cider vinegar and water blend. Add one cup vegetable broth and cook it down. Add the rest of the broth one cup at a time until all the broth is absorbed. Then add the pumpkin puree. Cover with a lid and cook until the rice is fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

Roasted Acorn Squash

2 acorn squashes
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons raw sugar
A pinch of salt
Non-dairy coconut sorbet (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cut acorn squashes in half and scoop out seeds. Place squash halves on a baking sheet. In a small bowl mix together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the squash flesh is tender and golden. Serve squash warm. Top with a scoop of non-dairy coconut sorbet (optional.)

Food Facts:


Janae Jean serves as editor, social media manager and podcast co-host for Conscious Community Magazine. She enjoys improvising in the kitchen and creating recipes with her loved ones and is very grateful for their suggestions, feedback and assistance.Visit www.perennialmusicandarts.com and www.janaejean.com for updates, articles and more.

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