SAN DIEGO: 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.
LIGHTING THE WAY
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.
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.
THE TASTY PUMPKIN
There are many ways in which pumpkins can be prepared and consumed–the following suggestions are some of the many ways to enjoy them.
- 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.
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
Pumpkins are good for you and your furry friends
Pumpkin is not only delicious to humans, but pumpkin flesh 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.
The oldest known evidence of pumpkin seeds are those found in Mexico, dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C. With its long history and delicious health benefits, this wonderful fruit is here to stay. Not only at Halloween but throughout the entire fall season.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!