Monday, October 3, 2011

October: Welcome in the Pumpkin!

Hello again, friends. I'm just pumping out the blog entries for you this week! Speaking of pumping, for the rest of the month, we are going to cover the amazing gourd we like to call the pumpkin!
One of our favorite fall activities: Tanners (back in 2008, yikes!)
But let me be more specific. Did you know there nearly a dozen different kinds of pumpkin? With that being said, a pumpkin you would used for a jack-o-lantern is not the same you would use for cooking. The pumpkin that is used for cooking is much smaller and called either a sugar, or pie pumpkin.

Edit: Pie Pumpkin from 2013: less seeds, more flesh

 It's also the kind of pumpkin that is pureed and canned. And speaking of canned pumpkin, the biggest source of canned pumpkin is nowhere else than central Illinois! According to the University of Illinois, 496 million pounds of pumpkin was produced in Illinois in 2008!

Baby Pumkpins!
So what's all the hype about pumpkin? Well, let me be the first to tell you, pumpkin is much more useful than for a thanksgiving pie. First off, let's cover all the great things a bit of pumpkin can do for your diet. 

Not only is pumpkin low in fat and calories, it's a great source of fiber, vitamin C, E, and B5, potassium, and magnesium. It also has alpha-carotene (studies show it could extend your life) and beta-carotene (a great anti-oxidant).

And that's not all. Even the seeds are healthy for you! Pumpkin seeds can promote prostate and bladder health. Seeds also contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc, copper, Omega 3, vitamin K and are an anti-inflammatory.

Did you know half a cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium? There are also reports showing that pumpkin seeds can lower cholesterol.
Photos taken from the local Farmer's Market

Not to mention, pumpkins taste great and are an awesome secret ingredient to dishes outside of that traditional pie. 

Throughout the month of October, we are going to cover just a few ways you can use a little more pumpkin in your life. 

Thanks to the great folks at Care2 , I have plenty of ideas to try out! 

Be sure to check in every week to see new, unexpected ways to use pumpkin.

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