Eat well for your eyes this Halloween by using up your pumpkin!
The flesh is rich in lutein which is the pigment that gives it such a distinctive orange colour. Lutein is concentrated at the back of the eye,(the macula) and acts as an anti-oxidant to reduce degeneration of the tiny blood vessels by damaging oxygen atoms known as free radicals. It is thought that lutein blocks blue light from reaching the macula, reducing the risk of damage to the delicate cells and blood vessels that could lead to macular degeneration (AMD).
The BBC Good Food website has an amazing choice of pumpkin recipes including three soups, three curries, risotto, a low carb sausage casserole and even puddings!
An easy yet tasty recipe for pumpkin soup that we made last year from the site uses only pumpkin, stock, cream and onions, it's comforting, warming, filling and extremely good for you.
The year before last, we made cakes with the leftover pumpkin flesh and they were incredibly moist and didn't taste of pumpkin at all. They are similar to carrot cake so if you like that, these are sure to be a winner.
Although we buy pumpkin seeds, I had never though of using the ones leftover from Halloween yet they were so simple to prepare. I rinsed then lightly toasted them in a frying pan with a little olive oil and added Cajun seasoning, garlic salt and chilli powder for a really savoury more-ish flavour. Here is an easy to follow guide with clear pictures showing each step.
Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium and a good source of zinc, iron, protein, fibre and even more free-radical scavenging antioxidants. You can eat them alone or in soups and salads.
So eat well and help your eyes this Halloween by using up the two best bits of your pumpkin.