UBCO Executive Chef Shelley Robinson is a big fan of pumpkins and their versatility in the kitchen. (Contributed)

Pumpkins, more than just a jack-o-lantern: UBCO chef

The festive Halloween vegetables are great for side dishes, soups and breads

With Halloween just around the corner, many are getting ready to carve up their festive jack-o-lanterns, but what most people look past is the nutritional side of the pumpkin.

UBCO executive chef Shelley Robinson is a big fan of pumpkins and their versatility in the kitchen. Robinson joined the campus community early this year and wants to rejuvenate the eating experience for students, faculty and staff.

While most people think of pumpkins as key decoration for Halloween, the pumpkin is really just a big squash.

“Pumpkins and squash are one of the same, both belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family,” said Robinson.

“In fact, there are hundreds of types of squash grown globally, all with unique looks and flavour profiles.”

READ MORE: Get more out of your pumpkin this Halloween

Robinson is currently using pumpkin recipes in UBCO food services, using the squash in soups and vegetarian dishes and as side dishes. She said there are many nutritional benefits to eating pumpkins.

“Squash is extremely versatile and can be used in soups, curries, mashed and also used in breads and smoothies. Squash boasts a ton of nutritional benefits. Just a small handful of pumpkin seeds contains 50 per cent of the recommended amount of zinc required in a day, they are high in fibre and low in carbs, making them a great choice for weight loss. The seeds are also high in beta carotene which is an excellent antioxidant.”

A pumpkin that’s great for cooking is a mature pumpkin, according to Robinson.

As they grow in a rather irregular way, they can be misshaped, craggily and gnarly looking, none of which makes them less delicious.

With all the rage this time of year being about pumpkin spice lattes, Robinson recommends a healthy, homemade pumpkin beverage.

“I’m not a fan of sugary drinks. At home, I make a squash ‘nog’ with squash puree. Just add almond milk, half a banana, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of allspice, one tablespoon of molasses and blend away.”

UBCO sources their pumpkins locally, which Robinson recommends.

“There are so many local farms selling a huge variety of squash. We work hard to use local seasonal ingredients, both to support our community, and because foods grown close to home just taste better.”

READ MORE: Quails’ Gate Winery to celebrate 30 year anniversary


@Niftymittens14
daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Eastbound lanes of Harvey Avenue closed after car crash

A mini-van and a car collided at the intersection of Dilworth and Harvey Avenue.

Icewine harvesting underway in Okanagan

Hundreds of tonnes of grapes expected to be harvested this year for icewine in surrounding Okanagan area

City of West Kelowna proposes 4.8% tax increase for 2020

Tax increase will generate $2.3 million more in revenue in comparison to 2019 budget, city says

Nominations for Kelowna Chamber of Commerce “40 Under Forty” now open

The chamber said the search for “Best of the Best” is on

Kelowna city council approves off-leash dog beach on Lake Avenue

This is the fourth off-leash dog beach to be implemented in Kelowna

Morning Start: FRESH HEADLINE HERE

Your morning start for [PUT DAY, DATE HERE]

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Book examines history of B.C. wine industry

Author Luke Whittall has studied the growth of the industry from the mid-19th century to today

Most Read