Today’s seasonal superfood: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are not just fun to carve and decorate your home with- they are a powerful superfood! Pumpkins occupy 100,000 acres of farmland in the United States. The start of fall means all the planted pumpkins are finally ready to be sold, decorated and eaten.

Pumpkin Parts

The Skin of a pumpkin is the thin shiny part that protects it from anything bad getting to the edible inside.

Pulp is the inside of the pumpkin that is used to make yummy entrées and deserts.

Pumpkin pulp is one of the richest foods in vitamin A. It provides 246% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance). Our bodies use vitamin A to:

  • Fight infection
  • Allow us to see in the dark
  • Keep our skin healthy

Ribs are the ridges that run from top to bottom along the pumpkin. They give each pumpkin its own character and look.

Brain/Guts are the slimy, stringy, mess that you pull out of the pumpkin before carving or eating it.

Seeds are packed with nutrients and planted to make next years pumpkins

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The seeds of a pumpkin are commonly roasted and eaten for their chewy texture and nutty flavor. During this time of year, pumpkin seeds are a great snack that contains minerals and antioxidants.

An antioxidant is a nutrient that protects our bodies. The seed of a pumpkin has a unique blend of antioxidants like vitamin E, zinc and magnesium.

A mineral has many jobs in the body just like a vitamin. Minerals are not commonly associated with food, and people may forget their importance. Pumpkin seeds have minerals magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.

The World Health Organization recommends pumpkin seeds as one of the best sources of the antioxidant and mineral, zinc. One of the most well known functions of zinc is the boost it has on our immune system which helps us avoid getting sick.

Tip: When baking your pumpkin seeds, cook between 15 and 20 minutes. Anything longer then 20 minutes may damage important parts of the seed.

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Picking a Perfect Pumpkin
  • Orange with little or no green
  • A medium pumpkin is best for carving while a small is better for cooking
  • A hard shell that is not easily scratched
  • Free of soft spots
  • The shape does not reflect the health of a pumpkin- chose what you like!

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Pumpkin Waffles

Put a fall spin on your morning waffles with a recipe from Super Healthy Kids

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Then mix the wet ingredients together. Fold them together and give it a few stirs.  Heat a waffle iron, and cook 1/4 cup of batter at a time.

References:

The George Mateljan Foundation. (n.d.). Worlds Healthiest Foods.

Roskelley, A. (2009, October 12). Pumpkin Waffles | Blog

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