Pumpkins are a plenty during the Fall harvest season. Often treated as a vegetable, they are actually a very versatile fruit and are also nutritional powerhouses. Not only are pumpkins high in carotenoids which work wonders on your immune system, but they are also high in beta-carotene which acts as a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in the body. Another bonus is that pumpkins contain Vitamin A which is beneficial for our eye sight and other problems related to macular degeneration. But, let’s move on to the fun stuff! Here are some ways to make the most out of your pumpkins this year.
Decorate. If the thought of carving a pumpkin sounds messy, skip it this year. Keep your pumpkins intact and decorate from the outside. Think about using ribbons or try painting your pumpkin in thirds to resemble a piece of candy corn. Check out these ideas from Better Homes and Gardens that will have you second guessing the whole carving ritual next year!
Bake. According to the blog Baking Bites, the best pumpkins to use for baking are the smaller pumpkins, typically less than 10 pounds. If you want to save time, however, opt for a canned pumpkin as you will get a more consistent product every time. Impress your guests with this Williams-Sonoma Botanical Pumpkin Loaf Pan to add even more beauty to the table this year.
Roast. According to Angela, blogger and founder of “Oh She Glows’ her first attempt at roasting sunflower seeds might have been her last attempt, “The inner seeds cook much faster than the outer shell. I kept peeking in the oven and everything looked fine on the outside. Little did I know, the inner seeds were burnt to smithereens.” In this blog, she shares 6 steps to perfectly roasted sunflower seeds.
Carve. This is fun activity for everyone in the family. If you don’t know where to start there are hundreds of blogs and YouTube videos that will teach you how. Get creative, and have fun. Interestingly, the Food Network has a great slideshow showcasing the skills of their celebrity chefs
Incorporate. Pumpkin seeds are everywhere. In fact, some say that seeds are the new nuts! Recent research has suggested that pumpkin seeds may play a role in insulin regulation and diabetes management. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over soups, salads, and stir-fries, and snack on them as you would nuts. Or you can look for snacks and other foods that contain them.
Decorating your pumpkins is a great alternative to carving this year! From ribbons to painting, you can get as creative as you would like. Think about having a competition with your neighbors or friends.
This time of year is notorious for baking. This year, think about using this beautiful Botanical Pumpkin Loaf Pan from Williams- Sonoma. Whether you are making pumpkin bread or banana bread, the design with delight your guests.
Roasting seeds can be quite a challenge. If you get it right, you will have a yummy delight to snack on. You can flavor them sweet or spicy and they are a great alternative to chips or candy.
Sure it may take a special tool kit for more elaborate designs but you can also get crafy with what you have at home. Think about using stencils and even writing a message on your pumpkin. Don’t forget to illuminate it with a candle.
Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over soups, salads, and stir-fries, and snack on them as you would nuts. Or you can look for snacks and other foods that contain them. This way you can enjoy the benefits of pumpkin year round.