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Pumpkin to Pumpkin Spice Everything

The weather is getting colder, leaves are changing colors and we soon will be wearing sweaters and boots. Fall also is the time for something special: pumpkins.

Everyone is excited that pumpkins will be back in season. We’re also excited about the possibilities for using pumpkins.

Pumpkin is high in vitamin A and has a moderate amount of vitamin C. Also, pumpkins are packed with assorted minerals, important vitamins such as B12 and K, and other nutrients.

You might notice “pumpkin spice” being mentioned on menus. Maybe you like pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin spice cookies.

Eating more pumpkin has health benefits, but even the spices in pumpkin spice have some benefits. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants. Nutmeg is known for fiber and a moderate amount of vitamin B. Ginger contains small amounts of iron, zinc and potassium.

Here are some fun, creative things you can do with a whole pumpkin:

  • Carve something other than a smiley face in the pumpkin. Try carving your name or favorite TV show character, for example.
  • Turn your pumpkin into a planter for the outdoors or indoors. Just cut off the top of the pumpkin, clean out the guts and seeds, then fill it with soil and plant flowers in the soil. This is a cute way to decorate your front porch or have a little piece of fall in your home.
  • Get out the paint and brushes and create an artistic painting.

Try these ways to use pumpkins for food:

  • Use the pumpkin “insides” to make a pumpkin puree that you can add to a pie or muffins.
  • If you enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, try making one at home and save $5. Put together milk, espresso, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract, then top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. Yum!
  • Mix pumpkin seeds with a small amount of olive oil and spices of your choice, then roast the seeds for about 20 minutes at 425 F.

These are just a few fun, creative ways to use pumpkins. How will you incorporate pumpkins into your everyday life this fall?


By Briana Lewis, NDSU Community Nutrition Intern

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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