Pumpkins: The nutritious benefits

October 27, 2021

By Kirsten Torrey, UD Dietetic Intern

Pumpkin flavored everything has reached quite the level of fame over the past couple of years! Some may not be aware of all the health benefits it can offer and how to nutritiously enjoy pumpkin-flavored foods.

Pumpkins are a vegetable filled with many nutrients. They are low in calories, and are fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free. They are high in vitamin A, which aids in eyesight and are also a good source of Vitamin K which helps with blood clotting. Pumpkins also contain fiber, which is needed for good digestion and acquire their vibrant orange color from an antioxidant called “beta-carotene.” Antioxidants can prevent heart disease and some types of cancer. Aside from all of the nutritious benefits pumpkins have to offer, they also taste delicious and are very versatile in the ways they can be used!

Put your pumpkins to good use this Halloween. Preparing pumpkin puree is an easy way to utilize the inside of a pumpkin. To do this, cut a pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, and place face-down on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Remove the soft flesh and place in a food processor and process until smooth. This creates pumpkin puree and can be used in place of any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree.

Try this recipe with your homemade pumpkin puree:

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes – serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ¾ cups milk, low-fat
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine egg, pumpkin puree, milk, and vegetable oil. Mix well.
  3. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Batter may be lumpy. (For thinner batter, add more milk).
  4. Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium.
  5. Using a ¼ cup measure, pour batter on hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst, then flip pancakes and cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter.

TIP: If you don’t have pumpkin spice on hand, don’t worry. You can use a combination of ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves.

Sources:

https://fcs-hes.ca.uky.edu/commodity/pumpkin

https://www.myplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/perfect-pumpkin-pancakes

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