Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
I was lucky – as a kid, I had the pleasure of visiting a local ice cream shop that made (and still makes, as far as I know) its own ice cream. It was creamier and tastier than anything you could buy in a store. Although all of their flavors were fantastic, my far-and-away favorite was the pumpkin ice cream they only made between Halloween and Christmas. Ice cream in the summer was grand, but Ray’s Pumpkin Ice Cream in the winter was even better.
Since I had a half-can of organic pumpkin left over from making pumpkin bread yesterday, I decided to give my own pumpkin ice cream a shot. (Literally … I included a shot of rum.) In lieu of heavy cream – I only had whole milk on hand – I added a few extra egg yolks, then threw in a few of my favorite spices. The result was a not-too-rich, very pumpkin-y ice cream that tasted a lot like the inside of a pumpkin pie. In short, I’d say that making your own pumpkin ice cream is so easy that you can enjoy a bowl of pumpkin ice cream even in the sweltering depths of July. (If you’re a big pumpkin fan, you might want to stock up on canned pumpkin while it’s plentiful in stores – the organic pumpkin at Trader Joe’s is particularly nice, but they only stock it seasonally. Whole Foods does stock organic pumpkin year-round, though.)
Note on making ice cream: the more fat you include (in the form of heavy cream, coconut cream, or egg yolks) and the more liquor you include (plain vodka and rum work best), the less frozen the ice cream will get. If you like your ice cream soft, use more yolks; if you like it to freeze harder, use fewer yolks or skip the booze. Don’t use more than one shot of booze per batch, because 1. odds are the rum/vodka flavor will be too pronounced and 2. the ice cream probably won’t freeze well.
Sugar also helps modulate the freezing consistency, but I prefer less-sugary ice cream, so I use natural sweeteners that don’t have much effect on the how hard the ice cream gets, both because there’s simply less sweetener in my ice cream vs. a commercial brand and because I use sweeteners like maple syrup and molasses rather than refined white sugar. I’d rather control the consistency by upping or decreasing the fat content. Note that you are consuming uncooked yolks, so be sure to at least get organic eggs; if you have access to local eggs from a local farmer, so much the better. I wouldn’t recommend using 99-cents-a-dozen eggs in a raw situation.
Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows (Calder’s and Organic Valley are good choices)
1 cup canned pumpkin, preferably organic (it really does taste better!)
3-4 egg yolks (3 if you like harder ice cream, 4 if you like softer ice cream), preferably from pastured hens
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 shot of unflavored rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Mine takes about 20 minutes to churn the blended mixture into a frozen cream.)
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a fruit of the plant of the same name and belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family that also includes gourds. It is quite similar to gourd in its appearance and is believed to have originated in North America. However, there is no fixed shape of pumpkins and they usually vary from being oblate to oblong. The rind is smooth, lightly ribbed and usually, orange or yellow in color. With a high nutritional value, pumpkins are associated with a lot of health benefits. Apart from the flesh, even the seeds of pumpkins boast of a large number of nutrition benefits. Read on to know more about the nutritious ‘pumpkin’.
Nutritional Value of Pumpkin
Given below is the amount of nutrients present in 1 cup Pumpkin (cooked, boiled and drained):
Calcium – 37 mg
Carbohydrate – 12 gm
Dietary Fiber – 3 gm
Folate – 21 mcg
Iron – 1.4 mg
Magnesium – 22 mg
Niacin – 1 mg
Potassium – 564 mg
Protein – 2 grams
Selenium – 0.50 mg
Vitamin A – 2650 IU
Vitamin C – 12 mg
Vitamin E – 3 mg
Zinc – 1 mg
Calories – 49
Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Pumpkin
Pumpkin is very rich in carotenoids, which is known for keeping the immune system of an individual strong and healthy.
Beta-carotene, found in pumpkin, is a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. It helps prevent build up of cholesterol on the arterial walls, thus reducing chances of strokes.
Being rich in alpha-carotene, pumpkin is believed to slow the process of aging and also prevent cataract formation.
Pumpkins have been known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.
The high amount of fiber, present in a pumpkin, is good for the bowel health of an individual.
Being loaded with potassium, pumpkin is associated with lowering the risk of hypertension.
The presence of zinc in pumpkins boosts the immune system and also improves the bone density.
Health & Nutrition Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
They promote overall prostate health, apart from alleviating the problem of difficult urination that is associated with an enlarged prostate.
They comprise of L-tryptophan, a compound that has been found to be effective against depression.
They are believed to serve as a natural protector against osteoporosis.
They have been known to reduce inflammation, without causing the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Studies have revealed that they help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.
Being rich in phytosterols, they have been associated with reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol.