Incorporate pumpkins into fall recipes

What do you do with the left-over pumpkins that aren’t carved into a jack-a-lantern? Pumpkins are a healthy and delicious addition to many recipes including soup, bread, pie and pudding.

Pumpkins are usually associated with jack-a-lanterns and Halloween, but what do you do with the left-over signature squash that isn’t carved with eyes, a nose and mouth?

Pumpkins make a great addition to a fall menu; soup, bread, pie and pudding are just a few of the many ways this vegetable can be used to enhance favorite recipes. Pumpkins are not only delicious but also loaded with vitamin A and beta carotene which promotes healthy eyes, skin and protects against infection. According to the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, “Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease.”

Pumpkins are a great fall and winter vegetable because they do not have to be stored in a refrigerator to be preserved. Whole pumpkins (not cut and free of bruising) can last up to two months if they are stored in a dark, cool, dry location where they won’t freeze or be exposed to insects or rodents.

Pumpkins should be rinsed and scrubbed with water before food preparation. Before boiling, baking or microwaving, remove the stem, scoop out the seeds and scrape away the stringy matter inside the pumpkin. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension offers cooking tips for pumpkins.

Don’t forget to hold onto the seeds when you cook with a pumpkin! Roasted pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for the heart. They also provide a concentrated source of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins.

For more information about the nutritional value of pumpkins, along with cooking tips and recipes, check out the following websites:

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