Fall is here! We finally have cooler temperatures, what few trees we have are changing color, and pumpkins are everywhere. They are in grocery stores and farmers markets; pumpkin patches and on doorsteps. We will paint them, carve them and in some places enter them into a pumpkin chucking contest, but the best thing to do with a pumpkin is eat it! Raw pumpkin has only 15 calories per 1/2 cup, and is full of iron, zinc, and fiber. It’s high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Canned pumpkin has a similar nutrient profile with slightly less fiber than fresh, but has more beta carotene. And pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. We all know about using pumpkin in the Thanksgiving staple pumpkin pie, but did you know that pumpkin can be used in many other ways. Here are some ways to use pumpkin this season:
•Add pumpkin puree to soups and sauces
•Try adding a little pumpkin to cookies, cakes or breads
•Use it to stuff ravioli for a savory dinner
•Roast the pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack
•Try adding a little pumpkin to your pancake batter for a nice fall touch
Toast your own pumpkin seeds:
Separate pumpkin seeds from the flesh of the pumpkin. This is easily done if you place the seeds in a bowl of water. The seeds float. Drain and dry the seeds. Drizzle seeds with a little oil and stir to coat the seeds evenly. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place seeds on baking sheet evenly and place in over for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn seeds every so often.
Make your own trail mix with your toasted pumpkin seeds:
Add ½ cup each of the following:
Mix together and eat for a healthy snack! Use whatever combination of nuts and dried fruit you like.