Are Pumpkins and Gourds More Than Just Decoration?
October 1, 2018
As a decorative front porch ornament or a relaxing and homey fireplace mantel accent piece, pumpkins and gourds are more than just eye appeal. Yes, I’m talking about the edible benefits of adding some green, orange, and yellow colors into your diet. Feeling intrigued, yet?
Pumpkin and gourds are a type of winter squash that are a significant source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. This nutrient density better supports the immune system, as well as benefiting the heart. Pumpkin and gourds are also high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which supports eye health and helps to prevent the development of cancer. They're also low in calories (approximately 50 calories per serving), which can be a delicious addition to a weight management plan.
The types of pumpkins bred for Jack-O-Lanterns may be a little less flavorful and a bit stringier than pumpkins bred for pies, however any type of pumpkin or gourd is edible and usable for more than just decoration. If a pumpkin or gourd has been sitting on your porch but is still firm and intact with no evidence of insects or animal tampering, then these can be safely used for cooking. However, once a pumpkin has been carved, it needs to be discarded after use to avoid the potential for contracting food borne illness.
You’ve eaten pumpkin pie before, but what are some other fun recipes for you to try? Some recipe ideas for incorporating more pumpkin and gourds into your diet include:
Pumpkin chocolate Greek yogurt
Blueberry pumpkin oat muffins
Baked Parmesan pumpkin fries
Squash cheesecake bars
If you make or have made some delicious recipes with pumpkin or gourds, feel free to share your ideas below or comment on my Speaking of Nutrition Facebook page. Happy Decorating and Happy Cooking!!!
Baked Butternut Squash Chips
January 27, 2018
• 1-large butternut squash
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Fresh or ground sage
• Fresh or ground rosemary
• Fresh or ground basil
• Grated parmesan cheese
1. Cut off the top of the squash and remove the peel
2. Slice the squash into thin chip like pieces using a mandolin or a knife. They should be about 1/8 inch thick
3. Boil a small pot of water. Place the chips in the boiling water for about 5-10 minutes
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
5. Pat chips dry with paper towel
6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
7. Spread the chips on the parchment paper
8. Coat the chips with extra virgin olive oil
9. Season with sage, rosemary, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper
10. Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes depending on your oven
11. Remove from oven when crispy and add additional seasonings, as desired
12. Serve immediately and store leftovers in an sealed container