Each year, starting the 3rd Wednesday of October, the streets of downtown Circleville, Ohio are lined with pumpkins both small and large. Since 1903 area residence and visitors from all over the world have flocked to this Pickaway County city to celebrate pumpkin everything. You see, during the annual Pumpkin Show pumpkins aren’t just for carving, decorating or making pies. Pumpkins are put in to just about anything imaginable to make one HUGE pumpkin party. Today we’re going to show you how you can turn this orange superfood into a delicious snack, add it to your smoothies and baked goods or even eat it straight out of the oven. Pumpkins are nutrient-dense, calorie-light and delicious. Here are three simple ways to add some fall flavor to your diet.
Pumpkin Snack Ideas
Given its high fiber content and low calorie count, pumpkin can make your morning or afternoon snack filling without ruining your fitness plans. The easiest method is cutting open the vegetable, scooping out the seeds, and roasting them at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. You can add brown sugar and cinnamon to satisfy your sweet tooth or toss with salt and chili powder, paprika or cumin for a heartier snack. Either way, you’ll get a satisfying crunch flavored with your favorite spices, making a great alternative to fattening potato chips and a fun way to add some excitement to your yogurt.
You can focus on fall-flavored cookies centered around pumpkin or add small amounts for a subtle taste and boosted nutrition. This flavorful plant packs plenty of Vitamin A, C, and potassium, letting you indulge in baked goods without any guilt. While canned pumpkin puree is available year round, why not take advantage of autumn and whip up your own puree to add to your favorite treats? Simply slice your jack-o-lantern into fourths or eighths, lay the chunks on a cookie sheet and bake them at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Once they’re nice and soft, you can scrape off the fleshy parts and puree them in a blender, food processor or mixer. You may need a few teaspoons of water to reach the best consistency.
Once you’ve got your puree ready to go, experiment with bringing the taste of Halloween to your favorite dishes. For cookies, substitute your puree for half of the butter; chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies won’t be overwhelmed by pumpkin flavor. You can also seek out autumn-specific recipes to make delicious breads, muffins, scones or cupcakes centered around this delightful vegetable. A full cup of puree has only 50 calories, so you can enjoy great color, flavor and nutrition while lowering the overall calorie count of your recipes.
Do you need a low-prep, high-flavor method for adding more vegetables to your family’s diet? Look no further than roasting, which is particularly easy with pumpkins. Just cut off the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the sticky seeds in the middle, cut the flesh into chunks, and roast it at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Kids and adults love helping to scoop out the gooey middle chunks, and just like with seeds, you can customize herbs and spices to suit your family’s tastes.
Once the Pumpkin Show and then Halloween are over, don’t throw away your jack-o-lantern. Instead, use these tips to get the full use of your pumpkin by making great snacks, cookies and side dishes. Plus, since puree freezes well for up to a year, you can stock up on discounted pumpkins on November 1 and cook up a big batch to last until next fall.