October is national pumpkin month. Pumpkin is a variety of squash that people often think of as a traditional Halloween decoration or a Thanksgiving pie filling.
Pumpkin is actually a plump, nutritious orange vegetable, and a highly nutrient dense food. It is low in calories, all of which are also in its seeds, leaves, and juices.
There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin into desserts, soups, salads, preserves, and even as a substitute for butter. Preparing flesh pumpkin at home will deliver the most benefits for health, but canned pumpkin is also a great choice. Pumpkin retains many of its health benefits in the canning process. But don’t get confused with canned pumpkin pie mix, because it contains added sugars and syrups. Canned pumpkin should have only one ingredient, which is pumpkin.
Although the variety of pumpkins that feature in the making of jack-o-lanterns is edible. It is best to cook with sweet or pie pumpkin varieties. Here are some simple tips for including pumpkin in a healthful diet:
• make your own pumpkin purée instead of buying canned.
• use pumpkin purée or canned pumpkin in place of oil or butter in any baking recipe.
• make a quick treat of pumpkin chocolate yogurt by combining Greek yogurt, pumpkin purée or canned pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.