Also Known as
Kaddu, Lal Bhopla
Red pumpkin or Lal bhopla is poor man's source of carotene in India. Other sources (like apples, carrots) normally happen to be rather expensive when not in the peak of season. Red pumpkin, however, is 'in season' throughout the year unlike in the Western countries, where it is typically an autumn appearance.
We are just beginning to discover the wealth of nourishment supplied by the mildly sweet flavored and finely textured red pumpkin. Red pumpkin is the member of the Cucurbitaceae family come in many different varieties. While each type varies in shape, color, size and flavor, they all have hard protective skins that are difficult to pierce that give them a long storage life.
Chopped and parboiled red pumpkin
Red pumpkin should be washed thoroughly and peeled off. Take a sharp knife, slice it from the top to remove the stem and then cut it into half from the centre then further chop it into small pieces.
Then boil enough water in a deep non-stick pan, place the chopped pumpkin in it and cook it on a medium flame till they are just parboiled which will take approx. 5 to 7 minutes. Use as required.
Chopped red pumpkin
Red pumpkin should be washed thoroughly and peeled off. Take a sharp knife, slice it from the top to remove the stem and then cut it into half from the centre. Chop ingredients by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger.
Grated red pumpkin
To grate the red pumpkin, rub it against a grater. These shreds will range in size according to size of the holes in the grater. It can be grated thinly or thickly using a grater as required by the recipe.
Red pumpkin cubes
Dice or cube red pumpkin by cutting them into uniform strips. Line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes.
Sliced red pumpkin
Holding red pumpkin vertically, slice using a sharp knife by cutting vertically across the cutting board. Slice them thinly or thickly as the recipe requirement.
How to Select
Winter squash is easily prone to decay, so it is important to carefully inspect it before purchase. Choose ones that are firm, heavy for their size and have dull, not glossy, rinds. The rind should be hard as soft rinds may indicate that the squash is watery and lacking in flavor. Avoid those with any signs of decay, which manifest as areas that are water-soaked areas or moldy.
. Before using, rinse off any dirt. Cutting the pumpkin may be challenging, use a large knife with a long handle. Once cut in small pieces, you can then remove the seeds, the fibers and the skin.
. Red Pumpkin Raita is also a great way to relish.
. Add cubes of pumpkin to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.
. Coconut flavoured red pumpkin is a tasty and tangy dish.
. You can also cook the whole pumpkin and cut and peel it afterwards. Make some holes in the pumpkin and place it the oven until the skin caramelized.
. The pumpkin can be boiled or steamed until tender. You can then smash it into a puree or a soup.
. Shredded or diced, the pumpkin can be sauted in an oiled skillet and served as a side dish.
. Its flesh is dense and can be shredded. You may want to serve it as a salad along with walnuts, raisins and cheese
. Serve warm pumpkin puree with maple syrup and finely chopped pecans; make a simple pumpkin soup with pumpkin puree, vegetable or chicken stock, onions, black beans, cumin and cilantro.
How to Store
Winter squash has a much longer storage life than summer squash. Depending upon the variety, it can be kept for one week to six months. It should be kept away from direct exposure to light and should not be subject to extreme heat or extreme cold. The ideal temperature for storing winter squash is between 50-60°F (about 10-15°C). Once it is cut, cover the pieces of winter squash in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for one or two days. The best way to freeze winter squash is to first cut it into pieces of suitable size for individual recipes.
. Pumpkin is really low in calorie. The perfect vegetable for persons who watch their weight.
. It is very rich in potassium and its intakes in magnesium and iron are not to be neglected.
. They are actually very healthy and are used in the treatment of many illnesses such as kidney, prostate and gallbladder problems.
. Its benefits include regulating cholesterol levels and aiding in the prevention and treatment of bladder and prostate problems.
. It's not just for pie: pumpkin is one of the best sources of carotenoids, antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer.
. Pumpkin is also one of the highest sources of alpha-carotene, a powerful member of the carotenoid family that's inversely related to cataract formation and boosts immunity.
. Red Pumpkin has a Glycemic Index of 75 which is High. Foods you eat rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. However, the low carb content in pumpkin reduces its effect on blood sugar resulting in a lower GLYCEMIC load of 3 thus making it a super food to have. So you can safely have pumpkin but do so in moderation.