Enjoy the Joyful Gourd

Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist

Enjoy the Joyful Gourd

Everywhere you go this time of year, friends, family and coworkers say things like, “It’s pumpkin season!” or “pumpkin spice is back at Starbucks!” The mass of pumpkin-loving people grows from year to year with almost cult-like fervor. And why shouldn’t it? Not only does this gorgeous orange superfood spice up lattes and autumn meals, it’s simple presence happily ushers in the fall season, spooks us on Halloween and decorates our Thanksgiving tables. Get ready, it’s time for pumpkin everything!

So, what’s to love beyond the taste? Pumpkin is jampacked with good-for-you nutrients. You likely know that pumpkins, thanks to their orange hue, offer the antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A inside the body.1 All this vitamin A is great for eye health, immunity and prevention of coronary heart disease.2,3 

Canned pumpkin specifically offers seven grams of fiber, three grams of protein per serving and 50 percent of daily vitamin K needs, even more than the fresh version.4 Finally, pumpkin seeds take pumpkin’s nutritional value over the top. These little gems offer loads of protein, potassium, magnesium, and pack a powerhouse of prevention against prostate enlargement, bladder stones and depression.5 High levels of phytosterols may help reduce cholesterol and prevent different types of cancer as well.6

Consider new ways to incorporate pumpkin into your cup, your kitchen and your life this fall and beyond:

In your cup. Simple and less expensive than the alternative, a scoop of pumpkin puree and dash or two of pumpkin spice whirled in the blender with your morning java is a great way to get the favorite fall treat at home.

At your breakfast bar. Keep canned pumpkin puree on hand to blend into smoothies, comforting bowls of oatmeal or waffle or pancake batter. Looking to amp up the pumpkin pie flavor? Sprinkle in some pumpkin pie spice, too! And if you’d rather use fresh pumpkin, do it! Clean out a fresh, small pumpkin and microwave for six minutes or until soft enough to scoop and puree.7

On your lunchbreak. The internet is full of great recipes for pumpkin soup8 or pumpkin mac n’ cheese9. Roasted pumpkin (cube, toss with favorite spices and olive oil and roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes) makes a great addition to fall salads full of dark, leafy greens and bright, citrusy dressings. Get creative!

In your snack pack. Snack time is pumpkin seed time! Visit the Food Network10 for their comprehensive how-to on prepping and preparing seeds for your snacking pleasure.

At your dinner table. Add pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin into warming chilis with beef or pork. Use as a layering agent in non-traditional lasagnas or ravioli filling accented with sage. A quick internet search reveals a whole world of main dish discoveries that deliver pumpkin, and all its superfood benefits, to your dinner table. Enjoy!

 

References:
1,2 Ehrlich, Steven D. “Beta-Carotene.” University of Maryland Medical Center, 23 Mar. 2015. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
3,4,5,6,7 Covington, Caitlin. “Pumpkin is Better For You Than You Think.” Greatist, 6 June 2016. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
8 Lori Lynn. “Sultry Pumpkin Soup - Southwest Flavors, Dressed To Kill.” Taste With The Eyes, 9 Oct. 2015. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
9 Gardens, Better Homes and, et al. “Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.” Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith Corporation, 29 Aug. 2016. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
10 “Reinvented: Pumpkin Seeds 5 Ways.” Food Network, 14 Oct. 2015. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.

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