’Tis the season for pumpkins! You see them everywhere you turn in October. Roll up to any grocery store and there they are, big, beautiful, orange squash stacked high and looking like forlorn puppies waiting for a new home.
Unlike puppies, however, these great gourds await the somewhat brutal fate of being carved with a toothy grin and stuck with a flickering candle and then rotting away on the porch. The thing is, pumpkins have a lot more to offer than just seasonal decoration, and it’s a shame to waste all that lovely fruit, not to mention they are so delicious and full of wholesome goodness.
Pumpkin is one of the top 10 SuperFoods, but it suffers from the perception of being a seasonal squash only for decoration. On the SuperFoodsRX website we read,
We only eat it once a year, if at all, in a Thanksgiving pie. Most people think of pumpkin as a decorative gourd rather than a highly nutritious and desirable food."
This is unfortunate because the squash known as pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally valuable foods known to man. (By the way, pumpkin is not a vegetable; it’s a fruit.”
Pumpkins’s beautiful bright orange color is due to a provitamin called beta-carotene (also found in carrots and sweet potatoes) which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Its immune boosting power not only contributes to healthy eyesight but has also been linked to preventing coronary heart disease. That’s only the beginning, because pumpkins are also high in fiber and bursting with potassium, magnesium as well as vitamin C and E. Wowza!
And then there are the seeds themselves which are high in zinc, a trace mineral that is beneficial to prostate health in men and critical for fetal development in pregnant women. Sunfood.com reports that pumpkin seeds alone are also,
...packed with vitamin A, B, C, and E. They contain calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, and copper, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs). These EFAs are especially effective in lowering cholesterol levels, and can help with weight loss by regulating lipid metabolism and breaking down fatty tissues. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids in the human diet. In fact it is estimated that pumpkin seeds contain as much tryptophan as milk.”
While we’ve seen the mass market pouncing on the idea of pumpkin-flavored foods, the good news is that it’s very easy to turn your jack-o-lantern into a healthy, delicious meals. The Abundant Wife, a frugal mom blogger has a guide for how to prepare it.
Once the pumpkin is broken down it can be added to a multitude of recipes. Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbooks offers a couple of scrumptious, healthy options with her pumpkin soup and pumpkin muffin recipes. Try them out and feel the super power of this amazing superfood.
How To Cook a Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin via The Abundant Wife
Powerful Superfood: Nutrition Packed Pumpkin Seeds via Sunfood.com
Arizona Pumpkin Soup via Mollie Katzen
Pumpkin Muffins via Mollie Katzen
About Cookbooks via The Moosewood Collective