Tip of the Day
The Versatile Pumpkin
A trip to the pumpkin patch is a fall tradition for many families, followed by a fun-filled afternoon of carving jack-o-lanterns. This fall staple is great for more than just fall décor, though!
The pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes the watermelon and squash. Its orange flesh has a mild, sweet flavor and the roasted seeds taste delicately nutty. Fresh pumpkins are available in the fall and winter. While some weigh more than 100 pounds, in general, the flesh from smaller pumpkins will be more tender and juicy.
Pumpkin can be prepared in a variety of ways from breakfast to dinner, and are a good source of potassium and vitamin C, and an excellent source of vitamin A. Here are just a few examples of how you can add pumpkin to your plate:
- Blend a pumpkin smoothie. Whirl pumpkin, fat-free milk, frozen vanilla yogurt, a dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon in a blender.
- Add fresh cooked or canned pumpkin to your favorite pancake batter.
- Use ¼ cup of canned pumpkin in place of one egg in baked breads and muffins.
- Cook mashed pumpkin with fat-free and low-sodium chicken broth, evaporated fat-free milk, nutmeg, onion and other spices for pumpkin soup. Serve in a cleaned out pumpkin for a seasonal touch.
- Make homemade ravioli with a stuffing of canned pumpkin and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Choose pumpkins that do not have blemishes and store whole pumpkins in a cool, dark place for up to two months.
For more information on pumpkins and other staples of the season, visit our Fall page and www.KidsEatRight.org for a delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie recipe.
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Reviewed July 2013