If you are one of the millions of Americans who has been assigned the task of baking the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, you know the routine. Buy a ready-made pie crust and fill with a canned pumpkin pie filling, add eggs and milk and bake. Or you could make one from scratch!
First, a pie crust is really pretty easy to make and you have many options for the type of flour and fat you use. Depending on your family’s dietary needs, you can make a gluten-free crust with a wide selection of non-wheat substitutes, and although I am partial to butter in my crusts, non-dairy coconut and olive oils do a pretty good job as well.
The filling is where things get tricky. First, I urge everyone to avoid buying canned anything, including pumpkin. This is because of the unavoidable exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) in all canned goods. Tetra Pak cardboard containers looked like a good alternative until I started to think about the plastic lining that must be inside the box! Sure enough, they are lined with plastic and sometimes, even aluminum. German researchers have even found estrogenic chemicals in food packaged in Tetra Paks. If you live near a store that sells pumpkin in glass bottles (with BPA-free lids), you are extremely lucky…or you might be able to order it on-line.
But in the end, the healthiest choice is that whole pumpkin, just wanting to share it’s delicious seeds with you and grace your Thanksgiving dinner table. Buy a soccer ball- sized pumpkin, cut it up into fist-sized chunks, place them in a roasting pan, spritz or brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven. Now you have BPA-free cooked pumpkin and you’re ready for a great old- fashioned pumpkin pie recipe. Just don’t forget about the seeds. Rinse them and remove the fibers. Place on a baking sheet, salt and roast for about 20 minutes at 350. They are a low fat, highly nutritious snack for munching while you prepare to make that fabulous pumpkin pie!