SAN DIEGO, Oct. 20, 2015 — When pumpkins become available in grocery stores and at community pumpkin patches and parks, they signal the beginning of the fall season and the advent of Halloween.
Serving as traditional Halloween jack o’ lanterns, pumpkins are carved into frightening faces that glow eerily at night from the candlelight deep within them.
Pumpkins are far more than fascinating orbs used for seasonal display.
They represent a $145 million dollar U.S. industry, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The United States is among the top five pumpkin-producing countries in the world.
As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of melons and cucumbers, within the genus Cucurbita of squashes and gourds, pumpkins are natives of North America.
“We fancymen are individuals; so are pumpkins; but every pumpkin in the field goes through every point of pumpkin history” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Adorned with sturdy stems and boasting brightly-colored shades ranging from yellow to orange, pumpkins are filled with an abundance of carotene, lutein, antioxidants, vitamin B-complex and minerals, and they have no saturated fat.
There are many ways in which pumpkins can be prepared and consumed–the following suggestions are some of the many ways to enjoy them, courtesy of www.nutrition-and-you.com.
- Pumpkins serve as an excellent main ingredient in breads, pies, pancakes, custard, ravioli, souffles and soups.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds, known as Pepitas, are enjoyable as nutritious snacks.
The following is a scrumptious pumpkin pie recipe, courtesy of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, in Gretna, Nebraska, published on thepumpkinfarm.com.
1 ½ cups canned or cooked pumpkin
1 cup packed brown sugar (or sugar substitute)
½ tsp salt (or salt substitute)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp molasses
3 eggs slightly beaten
12 oz can of evaporated milk (or light evaporated milk)
1 unbaked pie shell of choice
- Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, and molasses.
- Add eggs and milk and mix thoroughly.
- Pour into an unbaked pie shell.
- Bake the pie in a hot oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.” – Jim Davis
Pumpkin is not only delicious to humans, but is also useful in veterinary medicine; it is often prescribed as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats when they experience digestive distress.
Poultry are often fed pumpkin during the winter months as a supplement to their regular feed.
With the oldest known evidence of pumpkin seeds being found in Mexico, dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C. according to Wikipedia, this wonderful fruit is here to stay, delighting generations with its substantive richness and healthy properties, not only at Halloween but throughout the entire fall season.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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