Apples and pumpkins are autumn’s kitchen companions

Pumpkins and apples arrive from the harvest at the same time. They make delicious and nutritious sweet and savoury recipes together. | Sarah Galvin photo

Two of my favourite foods from the fall harvest are pumpkins and apples so I was curious about how many ways I could combine them in recipes.

My preference is to use sugar pumpkins because they are rich in flavour, slightly sweet and lower in water. A roasted sugar pumpkin yields a thick, rich pulp that easily becomes a silky, smooth puree.

Pumpkins are a great source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A. It also contains minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins E, C and some B vitamins. These play an important role in the health of our skin. Vitamin A also supports the immune system through the digestive system.

Vitamin C is not naturally made by the body so it is important we get it from out diet every day because it plays a part in collagen formation, helps to prevent bruising and helps with wound healing.

Apples contain a high amount of vitamin C. This is a powerful natural antioxidant that can help boost your body’s resistance to infectious agents and damage caused by free radicals. Each time you eat an apple, you’ll get a healthy dose of this important vitamin.

B-complex vitamins are also found in apples. This includes riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B-6, all of which are essential in maintaining red blood cells and keeping your nervous system strong and healthy.

Apples are rich in carbohydrates, and virtually all of the calories in apples come from carbs. Your diet should have a high percentage of carbohydrates because this macronutrient breaks down into glucose, the main source of fuel for every cell in your body. Apples provide mainly simple carbohydrates in the form of fructose, or fruit sugar. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in your gut and provide immediate fuel.

Snacking on an apple sneaks a high amount of fibre into your diet. The soft flesh provides soluble fibre, while the tough outer skin is insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre binds with water and slows digestion. Insoluble fibre stays intact and pushes out waste, making your stools soft and keeping you regular. Both fibres are important in your diet and usually fibre-rich foods have a small amount of each.

Pumpkin apple muffins

  • 2 1/2 c. flour 625 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 1 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg .5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt2 mL
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil 125 mL
  • 1 c. grated apple 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. maple flakes 30 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and vegetable oil.

Combine pumpkin mixture with flour mixture. Fold in grated apples.

Scoop mixture into muffin tins lined with paper liners or sprayed with a non-stick spray. Sprinkle the tops with pumpkin seeds and maple flakes.

Bake 20-30 minutes, depending upon the size of the muffins. This recipe makes nine to 10 large muffins or 12 regular-sized muffins.

Apple pumpkin bread with walnuts

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour 500 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 1 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • big pinch of black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. canola oil 125 mL
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree 250 mL
  • 1 c. light packed brown sugar 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1/3 c. walnuts, very coarsely chopped 75 mL
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped apples 250 mL

Place a rack in the centre of oven and preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Grease and flour a 9×5-inch (22 x 12 cm) loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pinch of pepper. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together egg, oil and pumpkin puree until well combined. Add sugar, cream and vanilla extract and whisk well.

Pour the wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined and no pockets of flour remain in the batter. Batter will be thick, not pourable. Stir in chopped apples.

Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan. Top with walnuts.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the bread comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Roasted pumpkin apple soup

  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 2 apples cored, and quartered
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 30 mL
  • salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne, more to taste 1 mL
  • 2 c. vegetable or chicken stock 500 mL
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, olive oil for garnishes

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).

Cut the pumpkin in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then add the garlic, onion and apple to the sheet pan and roast for another for 20 minutes, or until soft.

Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin, discarding the skin and transfer to a high-speed blender along with the apple, onion, garlic with skins removed, cayenne and some stock.

Blend on high for two minutes, or until silky smooth. Work in batches, if necessary.

If it’s too thick, add more stock to thin it out and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs such as sage or oregano.

Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days, or freeze for up to one month. This makes a large batch and there will be plenty to put in the freezer for a quick meal or packed lunch.

Roasted pumpkin with gnocchi and apples

Of course, homemade gnocchi is pillowy soft and delicious but buying ready-made is faster and easier. I found them in the refrigerator section of the grocery store along with other fresh pastas.

  • 1 c. sugar pumpkin, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c. olive oil 60 mL
  • 3/4 tsp. salt 3 mL
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. honey 15 mL
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest 10 mL
  • 4 c. arugula 1 L
  • 1 red apple , cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. shredded fresh herbs, such as sage or oregano 125 mL
  • 1 c. packaged gnocchi 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. butter 30 mL

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss pumpkin with one tablespoon (15 mL) oil on a large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast in oven until pumpkin is fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Whisk remaining three tablespoons (45 mL) oil with vinegar, honey and lemon zest in a large bowl. Toss in arugula, apple slices and herbs.

Cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Melt butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add boiled gnocchi and stir often until outside turn golden, about five minutes. Add gnocchi and warm pumpkin to arugula mixture. Toss until well coated.

Arrange on a plate and serve.

Using The Garden Harvest

Harvesting the garden and storing the produce for the winter months are common fall activities. Most families have favourite recipes that are particularly enjoyed when made with freshly harvested fruit and vegetables.

We would love to share your family’s favourites. Please send them to Harvest Favourites at team@producer.com or mail them to:

The Western Producer,
1000–3530 Millar Avenue,
Saskatoon, SK S7P 0B6

All entries must be received by November 8, 2021.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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