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Sustainable Table: Pumpkin Possibilities

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ASHLAND, Ore. — It’s orderly chaos at the Ashland Co-Op’s Kitchen, as Tiazza Rose and her sous chefs prep for pumpkins. The “Cooking with Pumpkin” class is one of dozens at the Co-Op each year, offering the tips and tools to help people sustain themselves.

“I think it’s the fact that people have never done it and so they are always worried they are going to fail if they try something,” says Tiazza Rose.

Tiazza is a sports nutritionist and fitness trainer, and as the second oldest of ten, raised in Morocco, she’s picked up a thing or two about cooking.

“Not my favorite food, but this time of year, yeah, I eat a lot of squash,” she says.

On the menu today: a six course meal featuring the squash family.

“Two dips, a salad, a chili and then we are making a stuffed pumpkin squash and then the dessert is going to be baked donuts,” says Tiazza.

Something missing from the long list of ingredients: sugar.

“One thing we prep with it usually is sugary crappy stuff, like pumpkin pie, and bread and muffins and things like that. And there is a lot more you can do with it that actually really delicious,” says Tiazza.

In this kitchen, there are no cans in sight, especially not canned pumpkin. Tiazza says everything is from scratch.

“It’s not going to sit on the shelf with not adding anything to it, and usually the number one thing that gets added is sugar.”

Tiazza says despite what many people think processing a pumpkin, or any other squash, isn’t all that difficult.

“It’s actually not that hard,” Tiazza explains. “I would never do can pumpkin. Basically, I took a big pumpkin, a huge pumpkin, I didn’t even cut it at all I just put it in the oven at 350, 375 degrees, leave it there for like 30 minutes max and its done and then it’s so easy to slice, because people are like, ‘I don’t cook with pumpkin because it’s so hard to cut.’”

Puréed, processed, prepared, and portioned out…for Tiazza, few foods come close to the sustainability squash offers the human body.

“It is extremely low in calorie, high in fiber, high in vitamin A, high in potassium,” says Tiazza.

While there was no pie at Tuesday night’s class, there will be this season, so the co-op has paired this pumpkin how to with a pie how to.

There are still several spots available for tomorrow night’s class on pumpkin pie. The class focuses on the dessert and dietary needs, like gluten free, vegan and low glycemic variations of the traditional treat. Click here to sign up.