Halloween is on our doorstep and sales of the iconic holiday pumpkin are at their peak. . There is no holiday that connects us more directly to nature. Americans are encouraged and excited to go to a real farm, roll up their sleeves, and harvest the best pumpkin in the field to claim for their own. Added to this season are the changing colors of the leaves, the smell of autumn in the air, and relishing the last warm days before the days become long and dark and the winter puts the landscape into hibernation.
So many of us have great memories of returning home to a cozy warm house and chasing away the chills with warm cider or hot chocolate. At Halloween time, the kitchen table gets covered in pumpkin seeds ready to roast and guts ready to puree for pies and other goodies. However, pumpkins should be seen as more than a seasonal treat for only one time of the year. Salvage those pumpkin bits on the table or go to the bulk bin at the market to make your own healthy dietary alternatives and save some money at the same time. A great alternative not often reported is DIY pumpkin milk. It looks just like milk, feels just like it, and has the added fun of the pumpkin taste in addition to the milk one.
Why should pumpkin milk replace other milks? Many parents are seeking milk alternatives to bovine milk because of children’s allergies that have increased in the era of highly processed and hormonized milk-products. The most popular milk alternatives found at the store are soy and rice milk-products. These remain concerns because of what is found in the ingredient block on the packaging. These milk-products are full of sugars, petrochemical coloring, vegetable oils, and genetically modified resources.
What are the benefits of pumpkin milk? From an Herbology perspective (Western, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine), pumpkin seeds are warming and nourishing. Their properties include: aiding digestion, cleansing the system, anti-inflammatory, stimulating energy and promoting fertility. Organs associated in these herbal systems are: heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Conditions reported helped by pumpkin seeds include: Arthritis-Rheumatism, Asthma, Brain function, Coughs-Dampness, Diabetes, Qi Stagnation, Gastritis, Headache, Hiccoughs, Menses, Urinary infections, Uterine Warming Tonic to help with PMS. Sounds great! How to make it?
I took other recipes and altered them to fit my own experience. These measurements below are flexible and forgiving, and will depend upon your own preferences. Two quarts seems a little thick for my taste. Also, I like to double this recipe sometimes so that I have a stock of pumpkin milk on hand for a little bit longer. I have also tried the pumpkin milk in baking and was happy with the results. It brings something different to taste as well as the exhilaration of the nutrients it imparts.
Start out with:
•1 cup Raw pumpkin seeds
•2 cups Filtered water
•2 drops Vanilla
•Optional Stevia to-taste
It helps to soak the seeds about eight to twelve hours to sprout. Then strain, rinse, and pour the seeds into the blender. Add 2 cups of filtered water. Blend on high until the seeds are completely broken down. You'll be impressed how the seeds already look like milk at this point. Pour the mixture into your jelly bag over a bowl; the pumpkin pulp forms a thick paste. No worries, just add more water into the bag to help push the milk through. Here you will want to test the taste and thickness of the milk found in the bowl. Add more water to thin your pumpkin milk if desired. Then I found two drops of vanilla extract was the maximum needed to add to the mix. I added the smallest amount of Stevia as well, then poured my fresh milk into a pitcher and stored in the refrigerator. The results are very pleasantly surprising. To see the demonstration, refer to the source in my references at the bottom of this article.
If you too decide to give this recipe a try or if this conversation sparks any further ideas, we'd love to hear all about it. Perhaps you will see remarkable results as a milk substitute in your digestion and allergies? Please be sure to share your experience by contacting us. Happy Halloween!
- FoodPowers.com. Pumpkin Seed Milk Alternative Recipe for People with Food Allergies Just in Time for Halloween . 27 9 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzeG_nCirNc>.
- Tierra, Michael and Lesley Tierra. EastWest Herb Course. Ben Lomond: East West School of Planetary Herbology, 1999.
- Cantin, Candis. "Evergreen School of Integrative Herbology - Lecture Schedulefor Candis Cantin." EverGreen Herb Gardens and School of Integrative Herbology. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://www.evergreenherbgarden.org/lectures.html>.
- Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Pownal, Vt.; Godalming: Storey ; Melia [distributor], 2009. Print.
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