Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween or decorating. They serve many purposes, most of which were designed as healthy, nutritious vegetables. Pumpkins are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, beta carotene as well as fiber. When this time of year rolls around, everything turns into Pumpkin Spice season. While we aren’t complaining, let’s make sure to remember the true nutritional benefits of pumpkins.
Some facts about pumpkins are:
-Pumpkin is a type of cucurbitaceae fruit, such as
cucumbers, gourds, melons and squashes.
-Every part of the pumpkin plant can be eaten,
including the flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds.
-Pumpkins mature in early autumn.
-Characterized by a hard orange rind with
-It has two classifications, summer and winter.
MyPlate has a great graphic with pumpkin 5 ways. This is a favorite in our extension office.
If you want to see a larger version of this infographic, we have included the link.
We have included several delicious recipes from the Plan Eat Move website as well.
Yummy Glazed Butternut Squash with Carrots and Turnips.
A fan favorite of Pumpkin Apple Muffins.
Fall-Spiced Pumpkin Bread.
Pumpkin and white bean soup.
MORE PUMPKIN FACTS:
TO STEAM: Wash, peel, and remove seeds. Cut squash into 2-inch cubes or quarter, leaving rind on (it will remove easily after cooking). Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan and place squash on a rack or basket in the pan. Do not immerse it in water. Cover the pan tightly and steam the squash 30–40 minutes or until tender.
TO MICROWAVE: Wash squash and cut it lengthwise. Place it in a baking dish and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave until tender, using these guidelines:
- Acorn squash—1/2 squash, 5–8 minutes; 1 squash, 81/2–111/2 minutes.
- Butternut squash—2 pieces, 3–41/2 minutes.
- Hubbard squash—(1/2-pound pieces)—2 pieces, 4–6½ minutes.
TO BAKE: Wash squash and cut it lengthwise. Smaller squash can be cut in half; larger squash should be cut into portions. Remove seeds and place squash in a baking dish. Bake at 400°F for 1 hour or until tender. Seeds can be toasted at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Photos from our gardeners and their pumpkin stash.
While many of us may not have access to fresh pumpkins or it may not be in season, there is always the alternative with canned pumpkin. Follow the link for lots of ideas on using canned pumpkins.
However you decided to use pumpkin, we hope you enjoy the pumpkin season and add it to your diet.