With the fall in full swing, today were going to talk about pumpkins! This winter squash not only can be used within recipes but also comes along with a fun activity to do on a beautiful fall day.
A pumpkin is a winter squash that is round, smooth, and often a deep orange color. They have a thick outer shell with seeds and pulp on the inside and are grown all around the world. Did you know that in 2018, 27.6 tons of pumpkins were produced?
Regarding the nutritious value of a pumpkin, it is a great source of vitamin A and C. Pumpkins are 92% water, 6.5% carbohydrates, 0.1% fat, and 1% protein. To incorporate pumpkin into cooking, there are several different ways to do so. One of the most popular ways to enjoy pumpkin is to remove the seeds, wash them, and roast them with your favorite blend of seasonings. The seeds themselves are extremely nutrient dense and provide us with protein, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Pumpkin seed oil, rich in heart healthy fats, can be produced by pressing roasted pumpkin seeds and used in salad dressings. After the seeds have been removed, to enjoy the actual pumpkin, once it is ripe, it can be boiled, steamed, roasted, and even grilled. After being cooked it can be mashed, pureed, used in a soup, or simply seasoned.
Not only do pumpkins come along with great recipe opportunities but is also used in cultural practice. During the Halloween season pumpkins are carved into jack-o’-lanterns as a tradition from Britain and Ireland. Pumpkin chunking is another activity where teams build devices to launch pumpkins as far as possible. These can include air cannons or catapults. And of course, there are pumpkin festivals and competitions during the season w growers compete to grow the largest pumpkin.
Try out this super simple pumpkin breakfast recipe:
Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
Ingredients (makes 6, 1 cup servings):
- 3 cup Oatmeal, quick cooking
- ¾ cup Pumpkin puree, canned
- 3 cup Skim milk
- 3 tsp Honey
- 5 tsp Cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp Walnut pieces
- In a large bowl, combine oats, milk, honey, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
- When ready to eat, sprinkle 1 Tbsp walnut pieces on top of your oatmeal.
* For a dairy free option – replace the skim milk with nut, oat, or soy milk
* For a vegan option – replace the milk with non-dairy milk and the honey with maple syrup