Pumpkins: They’re not just for jack-o-lanterns!
Don’t throw away those extra pumpkins that weren’t carved into jack-o-lanterns! Pumpkins are a great addition to numerous fall recipes and contain nutrients that have many health benefits.
Halloween has come and gone and now you may be wondering what to do with the left-over pumpkins that weren’t lucky enough to have been carved into jack-o-lanterns.
Have no fear pumpkins make a great addition to any fall menu! They are great for soups, breads, pies and puddings. 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, that are not cut and free of bruising, can last up to two months if they are stored in a dark, cool and dry location where they won’t freeze or be exposed to insects and/or rodents.
Before prepping for consumption, Michigan State University Extension recommends that pumpkins are rinsed and scrubbed with water. If you plan to boil, bake or microwave the meat of the pumpkin, make sure to remove the stem, scoop out the seeds and scrape away the stringy matter inside of it.
Don’t forget to hold onto the seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mon-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for the heart. They also provide a concentrated source of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension provides information on how to dry and roast pumpkin seeds.
For more information about the nutritional value of pumpkins, along with cooking tips and recipes, check out the following websites: