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Pumpkin is Not Only for Desserts this Fall!

You cannot ignore it – pumpkins are everywhere. From pies, to coffee, and even bagels, it is hard to avoid. However, pumpkin is a versatile ingredient that does not always have to mean desserts and sugar. Our Sweet Pumpkin Sandwiches, a cousin to the more familiar Sloppy Joe, shows that pumpkin can shine as part of the main course, too.

Choosing & Storing Pumpkin: Look for pumpkins without cuts and soft spots, and that are firm and heavy for their size. You can store pumpkins in a cool, dark place for up to two months.

Preparing Pumpkin: You can use canned pumpkin puree in recipes, but making your own from fresh pie pumpkins is easy, too. Look for a smaller pumpkin and carefully cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds and save them for roasting later. Place pumpkin halves cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 45-60 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven, until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and let pumpkin cool until the halves are not too hot to handle. Scoop out the flesh and pulse a few times in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth consistency. Use in any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Nutrition: Pumpkin, along with many other orange vegetables, is an excellent source of vitamin A.

Sweet Pumpkin Sandwiches

Servings: 5
Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup tomato juice or sauce
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Instructions:
1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion. Drain excess fat.
2. Remove meat and onions from skillet.
3. Place water, ketchup, tomato juice, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder and pepper in large skillet. Bring to a rolling boil.
4. Add cooked meat, onions, and pumpkin to large skillet.
5. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add more tomato juice/sauce if too thick.