Each October, the majority of our nation’s pumpkin crop are turned into decorative jack-o’-lanterns in celebration of Halloween. But, if you think that pumpkins are only good for carving, and maybe a holiday pie, think again.
Pumpkins, a fruit (not a vegetable), like gourds and other varieties of squash belong to the ucurbitacae family, which also includes cucumbers, gherkins, and melons. Indigenous to the western hemisphere, pumpkins have been grown in America for over 5,000 years. Native Americans called the pumpkin “isquotersquas.”
Most pumpkins are bright orange as a result of high levels of carotenoids, natural precursors to vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains 2,650 IU of vitamin A. They are a good source of lutein and ziazanthin, which help to protect against macular degeneration. And most recently, a Finnish study shows that pumpkin helps to prevent diabetes in men.
Pumpkins contain the antioxidant vitamin C and are also high in potassium. A one-cup serving contains at least 3 grams of heart-healthy fiber.
Let Us Not Forget the Seeds.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only delicious, they are jam packed with nutrients that are needed to have a healthy body: protein, fiber, iron, cooper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous, as well as the amino acids arginine and glutamic acid.
Pumpkin seeds also contain a fair amount of calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium, folate and niacin!
Studies in the US show that pumpkin seeds may help reduce hormone damage to the prostate, which in turn lessens the risk of developing prostate cancer. They’ve been used in certain areas of Europe to treat learning disorders. In China, pumpkin seeds are used to ward off depression, and pumpkin seed oil has been used for treatment of prostatitis.
Rich and peanuty in flavor, pumpkin seeds can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, soups and stews. You can even grind them for use in lip-smackin’ good sauces.
The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
More Fall Fabulous!
Autumnal Equinox RECIPES!!! Yum Delicious!
Spread the word … NOT the Icing!
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