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The Nutrition of Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds, and Three Easy Pumpkin Recipes

Updated on November 3, 2014

There are many health benefits of pumpkins and pumpkin seeds

Studies show that brightly colored vegetables usually have the most essential vitamins and nutrients. These include carrots, yellow and red peppers, and of course, pumpkins, which are much more than just mere decorations for our porches each fall. Most people tend to use pumpkins and pumpkin pie filling to make pumpkin pie during the harvest season and fall months, but there a re many other healthy ways to use pumpkin in a variety of dishes, and not just during the fall, but all year round. You can use it in soups, smoothies, breads, and other dishes that are much more healthier than pumpkin pie.

Additionally, you can also fine pumpkin seeds all year round, and they can also be used for a wide array of dishes, such as in salads, and baked goods. Of course roasted pumpkin seeds usually taste better, the raw seeds grant you a higher nutritional value.

Full of antioxidants and vitamins!

The largest health benefits of pumpkin nutrition are essentially large amount of antioxidants contained within this vegetable, not to mention a large amount of beta-carotene as well. Antioxidants are important for a strong immune system., and beta-carotene reduces cancer risks and converts to Vitamin A.

Pumpkins are also low-fat and low-calorie, and contain high amounts of potassium, plus Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, and Vitamin E.

Pumpkins are also high in water content, which makes them an excellent snack because they will keep you satisfied as well as provide a healthy snack option.

Health benefits of pumpkin can be overshadowed by too much sugar in some recipes

It is important to note that while the pumpkin itself is very healthy, it is when certain recipes call for additional ingredients that it can become unhealthy. For example, adding sugar and eggs for pumpkin pie and beeads can increase the calories in the dish significantly. If you want to get the full health benefits of pumpkin nutrition without adding other unhealthy ingredients, try roasting it with a few flavorful spices, or blending the pumpkin puree into a smoothie.

Health benefits and nutrition of pumpkin seeds

You can usually find pumpkin seeds shelled or unshelled, and roasted or raw. Pumpkin seeds contain many essential amino acids and zinc, as well as a large variety of vital minerals nutrients, including protein, iron and fiber.

Pumpkin seeds are also said to be a mood elevator, helping to reduce symptoms of depression, and some studies show that they are also useful in the treatment of kidney stones. There are still many studies ongoing regarding the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

There is something wonderful about making pumpkin recipes in the fall!

When fall arrives, you'll see plenty of pumpkins available in the supermakret and at pumpkin farms, where they usually end up decorating peoples front lawns and steps. But pumpkins can be much more than Halloween decoration. These easy pumpkin recipes utilize the squash in a number of tasty ways that are sure to make lovers of pumpkin out of all of you.

Remember, pumpkins at your local pumpkin farm are usually much more expensive than those found at supermarkets. Additionally, it isn't always necessary to use a whole pumpkin for some recipes, as some of them simply call for a can of pumpkin puree. To keep things healthy, just be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. You can read more about the differences between both at the link below.

Pumpkin-Cider Drink

Serve this cider hot—it is a real treat during the colder fall days and night! It also makes a great cocktail to serve at Halloween parties of fall dinners with friends and family if you add a little rum or brandy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should see the ingredients appear more of a liquid consistency. Once that occurs, it is ready serve, garnished with a cinnamon stick, thin slice of orange, or whipped cream sprinkled with a but of nutmeg.

Candied Pumpkin Pieces

This next easy pumpkin recipe is a great one to make for your own kids or for children's Halloween parties.

  1. Cut off the tops of two miniature pumpkins and clean the insides thoroughly, removing all the fiber, seeds and pulp.
  2. Peel the pumpkins and slice them into small pieces, about 1/2" thick.
  3. Melt four tablespoons of butter in a skillet
  4. Add the pumpkin and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin pieces are tender.
  5. Stir in 1/3 cup of sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
  6. Add 3/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon.
  7. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  8. Refrigerate the pumpkin pieces for 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin

Roasted pumpkin can be very delicious with the addition of just a few spices.

Cut off the top of a miniature pumpkin (one for each person you will serve) but don't discard the tops.

Scoop out the seeds, fiber and pulp from the pumpkins.

Create a mixture of spices for each pumpkin using 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and sprinkle the spice mixture in the pumpkins.

Drizzle a teaspoon of maple syrup in each pumpkin and add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to each as well.

Add about 1/2" of water to a deep baking dish and set the pumpkins within the dish.

Cover the pumpkins with their lids and roast them at 400° for about 30 minutes or until tender.

Serve hot, garnished with a bit of whipped cream and nutmeg in the pumpkins. It is okay to eat the skin!

More easy pumpkin recipes

For a large assortment of additional pumpkin recipes, be sure to visit the following links!


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