As soon as September 1st comes along, all anyone can talk about is pumpkin. I am usually on this bandwagon as soon as I spot canned pumpkin in the baking aisle of the grocery store. But this year it was there in July. And moving back to Texas has made me not quite ready for fall foods yet. It’s still 90 degrees here. Not the best time to be making oatmeal and chili and cornbread full of pumpkin.
But then I got a perfect, orange surprise in my CSA delivery last week. It’s almost too pretty to want to eat. So as it is currently sitting and decorating my table, I’ve been pondering the best way to use it.
While most of us think of pumpkin as a pretty, fall decoration or a canned staple, it has plenty of nutrition in either form. As a member of the squash family, it is loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of plant-based iron and protein.
The beta carotene found in pumpkin (and other orange veggies) converts to Vitamin A in the body, which benefits vision and keep eyesight sharp. Some studies have also shown beta carotene to have cancer fighting properties.
One cup of pumpkin has over 7 grams of fiber and 10% DV of potassium, which aid in regulating digestion and preventing GI issues. The iron found in the seeds is better digested when combined with the vitamin C found in the orange flesh, providing a key source of non-heme (plant-based) iron that helps to strengthening the immune system.
Pumpkin can be used in many forms. Fresh pumpkin can be roasted or pureed. Canned pumpkin adds easy flavor to baked goods. Pumpkin seeds can be toasted and added to salads, smoothies, or enjoyed as a crunchy snack. Here are only a few of my staple pumpkin recipes to enjoy this fall:
- Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal – My Thanksgiving brunch go-to for a crowd.
- Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookie Bake – Divine when topped with Earth Balance Peanut Butter.
- Pumpkin Chai Protein Smoothie – A cool way to enjoy pumpkin in this fall heat.
- Pumpkin Chip Cookies – These little, soft, melt-in-your mouth treats will not last long!
- Smoked Pumpkin Chili – Super easy and full of flavor, perfect with this cornbread recipe.
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