7 surprising health benefits of pumpkins
Pure canned pumpkin can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, pastries, pancakes and more. Need a small quantity? Pour the rest into small freezer-safe containers (or a silicone ice cube tray lined with a gallon-sized zip-top bag), freeze and thaw as needed.
6. Pumpkin spice lattes contain little to no pumpkin.
Most of these frothy drinks are completely pumpkin-free, although some versions do contain some. Either way, the biggest problem is that they’re really indulgent desserts in disguise: a 16-ounce cup can have up to 400 calories, 50 grams of sugar, and nearly half the maximum amount of fat. saturated fat that you should consume in a whole day. . (If you can’t pass it up, ordering yours with skim milk, less syrup and no whipping will lessen the damage.)
Pumpkin pie spice also doesn’t contain pumpkin, but this spice blend (usually cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice) offers many health benefits, provided whether you use it to add flavor to otherwise healthy foods. Cinnamon can help balance blood sugar, ginger can ease minor stomach upsets, and nutmeg offers B vitamins and minerals, Kimberlain says. Try adding this seasoning to unsweetened applesauce, oatmeal, or regular coffee or tea.
7. It’s technically a fruit, but it works just as well in both savory and sweet recipes.
Many people think of the pumpkin as a vegetable, but treat it like a fruit by saving it for sugary drinks and desserts. Neither is entirely accurate. By scientific definition, a fruit develops from the flower of a plant, while other parts are classified as vegetables, so pumpkin fits the bill. And the pumpkin itself isn’t inherently sweet; it all depends on what you associate with it. “Pumpkin is very versatile,” says Kimberlain, who loves using it in risottos and chilies or simply roasting it and serving it as a side dish.
Lakatos is a fan of pumpkin seed butter, an earthy green paste that you can buy pre-made or make yourself (by pureeing pumpkin seeds with a small amount of sea salt). “I often recommend it to vegetarians because it has a lot more protein than most nut butters,” she says. (It’s about 9 grams per serving.) When you’re craving something with a little sweetness but don’t want to overdo it, try Lakatos Twins Recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins oats. It incorporates canned pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and has a reasonable 8 grams of sugar per muffin. (A typical blueberry muffin, on the other hand, can contain up to 35 grams.)
- Pumpkins come in a wide range of sizes, with some weighing over 1,000 pounds. The heaviest pumpkin ever harvested weighed over 2,700 pounds and was grown in Chianti, Italy.
- The biggest pumpkin pie ever made weighed 3,699 pounds. It was created by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers and presented at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest in Ohio in 2010.
- There are over 1,000 varieties of pumpkins, including the miniature Sweetie Pie and the giant Atlantic Giant.
- 85% of the canned pumpkin distributed worldwide is packaged at the Nestlé/Libby factory in Morton, Illinois, aka the Pumpkin Capital of the World.
- Pumpkins are 90% water.
- A mixture of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg was included in a pumpkin (and squash) pie recipe in the Fannie Farmer 1896 Cook Book: The Boston Cooking School. McCormick & Co. introduced the Pumpkin Pie spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice in 1934.
- According to Nielsen data, Americans spend about half a billion dollars annually on pumpkin spice products.
Pumpkin pie oatmeal breakfast muffins.
Courtesy of the Nutrition Twins, Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
2 cups old-fashioned oats or rolled oats (not instant)
1 C. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract 1 cup almond milk (we used unsweetened vanilla)
3/4 cup pure canned pumpkin
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dried cranberries (if you want a little sweeter muffins, we suggest adding an extra 1/4 cup)
3 tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp. seed and grain mix (we used Trader Joe’s Super Seed & Ancient Grain mix; you can use any type of seed or grain you have on hand!)
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with muffin paper or spray with cooking spray.
3. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly until well combined in a bowl.
4. Divide the batter into 12 cups so that it is evenly distributed.
5. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes.
When done, the tops will be firm and not gooey or wet. Poke with a toothpick – and when it comes out clean, the muffins are ready! Be careful not to overcook.
Nutritional values per serving: 105 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 16 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g fibre, 8 g sugar, 3 g protein
Source: Nutritional Twins