Kaidy’s Post: It’s Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkins are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of September through the end of October. They belong to the Cucurbita family, also known gourd family,

 which includes several squash varieties, cucumbers and melons. There are over 45 varieties of pumpkins, ranging in color from orange to white to green.

In one cup of pumpkin there 49 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. There is also 245% vitamin A, 19% vitamin C and 16% of potassium, 11% manganese, 11% copper, 11% vitamin B2, 10% vitamin E and 8% iron of the daily recommended values. Pumpkin is filled with vitamins, specifically vitamin A and C, which support immune health, helping you to fight sickness and heal wounds. Also due to its low calorie, nutrient dense nature, pumpkin can help with weight maintenance and loss. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of nutrition, containing 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 13 grams of polyunsaturated fats per one ounce serving, making them a filling snack to eat throughout the day.

As fall begins to move into full swing, more and more people are picking up pumpkins for their fall decorations. The stores are filled with pumpkin spice flavored goodies and treats and families start to bake pumpkin stuffed treats. However, pumpkin does not have to be only reserved for sugar-filled pumpkin pies and cookies. The recipe below is just one way to incorporate pumpkin into your healthy diet during the fall season.

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients 

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  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  •  2 white onion, diced
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  •  3 cups milk, or milk alternative
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree (1 sugar pumpkin)
  •  salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  •  ½  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Cut a sugar pumpkin in half, from the stem to base. Remove seeds and pulp. Cover each half with foil.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven, foil side up, for 1 hour, or until tender.
  4. Scrape pumpkin meat from shell halves and puree in a blender. Strain to remove any remaining stringy pieces.
  5. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried sage and cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add milk, pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Combine until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. Allow to heat through.
  7. Add prepared pasta and combine.

Pro tip: Roast the leftover pumpkin seeds at 300 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper for 45 minutes or until golden brown to use the whole pumpkin!

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