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Not Just For Pies Anymore: Savory Sauteed Pumpkin Slices

Photo: Daniel Orr

Of all the usual holiday foods, no doubt the pumpkin pie is one of the most well-established dishes of the season. But when's the last time you ate pumpkin NOT as a dessert?

You're in luck! This week's podcast revolves around all things pumpkin.

We've got a tasty pumpkin-dish alternative: savory sauteed pumpkin slices as well as some great tips for the perfect pumpkin pie and Chef Orr's favorite thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin and sweet spice cheesecake.

Savory Sauteed Pumpkin Slices


  • 1 (2-pound) pumpkin, good meaty French variety
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. Peel and seed pumpkin. Cut into 1/3-inch slices. Toss in olive oil..
  2. Toss spices, sugar and salt in another bowl and pour over pumpkin slices.
  3. Saute in a nonstick pan unti caramelized. Turn and color other side lightly. Remove from pan and season with lemon juice.
  4. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds

Note: excellent served with turkey, veal, duck or game.

5 Tips For The Best "Traditional" Pumpkin Pie

Everyone loves the traditional pumpkin pie around this time of year. But why not mix it up with some pumpkin brownies or pumpkin flavored cookies? The Caribbeans even go so far as to put pumpkin chunks in their soups!

If "traditional" pumpkin pie is more your style, here are five, tasty tips to make your pumpkin pie the talk of the party:

  1. Mix it up: use a hardy, butternut squash rather than a pumpkin, throw in some other spices (candied ginger, star anise)
  2. Roast the pumpkin before hand to intensify the flavor (add molasses or honey)
  3. Mash it up with a potato masher or electric blender
  4. Drain extra liquid by placing your processed pumpkin in a coffee filter and letting it drain before adding to your favorite recipe
  5. Let your pie cool while in the oven to eliminate cracks

Weekly News Updates

Food Issues In The Health Care Bill

Last week, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed their version of a health care reform bill. Hidden among the bill's one-thousand and eighteen pages is a provision demanding that vendors post calorie counts on fast food menus and vending machines.

New York City has already implemented such requirements. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene polled ten-thousand consumers, asking whether the labels had an impact on their buying habits. The results showed that with the new labeling system, people consumed 106 fewer calories per purchase.

Many progressives see this provision as a way to reduce rates of obesity and hypertension, while others see it as an over-reaching, costly provision that penalizes big business. Some industry professionals estimate that the new plan's implementation could cost millions of dollars.

Pumpkins To Cure Yeast Infections?

The American Chemical Society just released a paper in its Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry regarding how scientists are finding new ways to utilize pumpkin skins. As microbes become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, there's a huge demand to find alternatives.

After researching some folk medicine techniques, some chemists thought they'd give pumpkin skins a try. After a series of laboratory tests, the chemists discovered that the proteins found in pumpkin skin are a rather effective fungus killer, or fungicide.

The scientists are in the midst of developing pumpkin skin-based treatments for vaginal infections and diaper rash. There may also be applications for their findings in the development of agricultural fungicides.

Next Week on the Podcast

That's all for now! Be sure to follow us on Twitter for daily news updates on food, recipes, and the environment.

Next week, is an extra special episode of Earth Eats, our hour-long Thanksgiving special. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you don't miss it!

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