Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Pumpkins are a joy to look at and to eat!
Pumpkins originate from this continent and were a staple of Native American cuisine. They were dried and then ground into flour – a very Interesting concept! Pumpkin flour is commercially available nowadays and can be a great substitute to white flour.
The majority of this delicious fruit is now grown for decoration and pumpkins can grow to over 600 pounds! However, if you are buying a pumpkin for eating, you want to go for smallish pumpkins that are somewhat heavy for their size. These will be more flavorful and tender for eating.
Pumpkins are delicious fall gifts that offer us their bright orange, flavorful flesh that is so good for:
• The heart. High in fiber and potassium and vitamin C, pumpkins support heart health, reduce high blood pressure and risk of stroke.
• The eyes. Pumpkins provide us with high amounts of carotenes including beta-carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants with special affinity to the eyes.
• The immune system. High vitamin C and beta-carotenes boost immunity and protect us from cancer.
• Blood sugar regulation. Low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, pumpkin helps control blood sugar and reduce risk of diabetes.
And don’t forget about Pumpkin seeds! When I cook or carve a pumpkin I always save the seeds, remove the fibers around them, rinse and let them dry. You can roast the seeds slightly but I like them just raw. Here are some of their health benefits:
• High in protein and fiber content, making them excellent food for blood sugar issues.
• Rich in minerals, some that most of us are deficient in like zinc, magnesium etc.
• Great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which help increase HDL – the good cholesterol.
• Important food for men because they benefit prostate health
What we can do with pumpkins
Yes, of course we can make pies with them! There are plenty of recipes for traditional pumpkin pies but I would like to offer my recipe Pumpkin Pie With a Twist -a gluten-free, dairy-free and egg free variation for some of us who are dealing with food sensitivities.
You can also make Pumpkin Puree and eat it as a side dish, add it to spice up oatmeal or rice, or use it to make your own pumpkin pies.