Food of the Month: Pumpkin
Care of Amy Symington
Orange you glad it’s fall? It’s that time of year again for all vegetables orange – from sweet potatoes, to carrots to a litany of squash varieties. However, when it comes to the fall season, winter squash or more commonly pumpkin, in particular is the Cinderella of the vegetable ball. What is autumn without thirds of pumpkin pie and doorways chocked full of jubilant jack o’ lanterns? Not one that most Canadians celebrate that is for certain.
With that said, and succulent desserts and carving fun aside, pumpkins are a versatile and healthy reason to raid a pumpkin patch this fall. Their nutritional benefits are scarily high. Pumpkin flesh isn’t just for carving blood chilling faces into, it is high in potassium, phytosterols, fibre, vitamin A and C, which in turn helps to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and reduce hypertension, aid in digestion, reduce free radicals in the body and promote superb eye health. And don’t even think about throwing the seeds out with the innards! Pumpkin seeds contain essential omega 3 fatty acids that help to maintain healthy blood vessels and nerves as well as lubricate vital bodily tissues, like the skin (which helps with anti-aging). They are high in protein and contain as much of the essential amino acid tryptophan as an inferior cup of cow’s milk. In addition to that, pumpkin seeds have been said to have anti-inflammatory properties that can potentially assist in the relief of arthritis without the side effects of over prescribed medications. Also, recent research in support of good prostate health as well as osteoporosis prevention claim that pumpkin seeds can be extremely beneficial in reducing the risk of illnesses in both.
Now that you’re on board the pumpkin truck, how would you like your pumpkin? Their vast culinary uses can be out right daunting. Listing everything and anything that can be made with the delectable squash could potentially lead to a large work of non-fiction. Pumpkin pancakes to tarts to muffins to ice cream, from soups to risotto to curries to pasta, from sauces to stews to stuffed goodness, the ideas are absolutely endless. These are the reasons that we never tire of this miraculous, chameleon of a food; that and the fact that everyone’s grandma makes the best pumpkin pie this side of the city fair grounds! And after further nutritional inspection it’s a darn good thing too. Thanks Grandma!* *Obviously, we don’t recommend over doing it with the pie*