Boost your nutrition this fall with some delicious pumpkin! Enjoy the deep and rich taste of this vine-grown fruit when it is harvested in the early months of fall to experience maximal nutrition benefits.
The bright orange color of pumpkin indicates a high amount of the powerful antioxidant, beta carotene. In the body, this plant-derived carotenoid can be converted to vitamin A, which has been shown to have many health benefits such as:
- Enhances vision by helping eyes adjust to light changes
- Aids in prevention of some types of cancer
- Contributes to the formation of healthy bones and teeth
- Helps with immune system regulation
How to Cook a Pumpkin
Fresh pumpkins provide the highest amount of nutrients and can be cooked and added to many recipes. Follow these easy steps to cook a pumpkin:
- Cut a pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Hang on to those seeds – roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious!
- Place pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, cut side down, and bake in the oven at about 350 degrees until the pumpkin is tender.
- Remove from the oven and, once cooled, scoop the pumpkin from the rind into a bowl.
If you do not have time to cook a pumpkin, you can purchase canned pumpkin. Look for cans with no added sugar.
Experience a taste of fall by adding pumpkin to your favorite recipes.
- Soup: Cook pumpkin, puree until smooth, and add to broth. Complete with a touch of cinnamon, ginger spice, and salt.
- Seeds: Save the seeds after carving your pumpkin. Place seeds on a baking sheet, toss with a tablespoon of canola oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake at 300 degrees until lightly browned.
- Pancakes: Puree cooked pumpkin and add to batter.
From soup to seeds, enjoy excellent nutrition by incorporating pumpkin you’re your next fall dish!
Did You Know?
Pumpkins come in many different sizes, ranging from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds!
For more information on preserving winter squash, like pumpkin, please see our resources on Preserve Smart.