October 26th is National Pumpkin Day! A day to celebrate America’s favorite fall food inspiration. You may enjoy a warm pumpkin spice latte on a crisp fall morning. Or, you may look forward to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day. Or, your favorite pumpkin food may be something a little more unique such as pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. With all the new pumpkin foods on the grocery store shelves, your choices are endless!
However, a lot of these “pumpkin” foods don’t actually contain any pumpkin. For example, did you know there isn’t actually any pumpkin in “pumpkin spice?” Pumpkin spice is just a mix of spices commonly used in pumpkin pie. The five spices that make up pumpkin spice are: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. While this spice combo makes for a tasty treat, you’re missing out on the benefits of actual pumpkin!
Actual pumpkins offer many health benefits. They are low in calories and fat but chocked full of vitamin A, fiber, and beta-carotene. As an added bonus, pumpkin seeds are also a good source of protein.
For tasty ways to add pumpkin to your fall menu, check out these recipes:
- Perfectly Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin-Orange Muffins
- Sweet-Hot Pumpkin Seeds with Autumn Spices
- Pumpkin Bunt Cake
If you want to substitute fresh pumpkin for canned pumpkin in a recipe, making your own pumpkin puree is simple!When selecting a whole pumpkin for baking, make sure you choose a pumpkin labeled “sugar pumpkin” or “pie pumpkin.” Big pumpkins used for carving or from pumpkin patches are edible, but they don’t taste very good and have a stringy texture.
1. Cut a pumpkin in half from the stem to the base. Remove the seeds and pulp. (Keep the seeds because you can use them to make a tasty snack!) Cover each half of the pumpkin with foil.
2. Bake the pumpkin halves, foil side up, at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the pumpkin meat is tender.
3. Scrape the pumpkin meat from the shells and puree it in a blender. Strain to remove any stringy pieces. You can use the puree immediately or store in the freezer for later use.
As you pick up pumpkins to carve for Halloween, remember to grab an extra one to make a tasty fall treat. What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?
 All Recipes. (2005). Pumpkin Puree. Retrieved from allrecipes.com/recipe/22935/pumpkin-puree/