Pumpkin is packed with nutrients and it’s a versatile vegetable that can add colour and flavour to your plate. It contains vitamins A, C and E, iron, folate, potassium and fibre.
Pumpkins are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body changes to vitamin A. Vitamin A improves eyesight, wards off germs and helps your reproductive system work the way it should. It also helps improve lungs, kidneys and heart health. The beta carotene in pumpkin works to combat the effects of ageing on your skin.
More pumpkin in your diet means a dose of vitamins C and E, iron and folate, all of which can help strengthen your immune system. An improved immune system will help you fight off viruses and speed the healing of wounds. Pumpkin also contains potassium, which studies show can aid in lowering blood pressure. Higher potassium levels can lower your risk of stroke, kidney stones and type 2 diabetes. Potassium may also increase bone mineral density, boosting your bone health.
Pumpkins are high in fibre and low in calories, making you feel full without adding to your overall food intake for the day. Fibre can help prevent constipation and promotes digestive health.
Pumpkin can be added to your diet in many ways. It can be pureed for babies, added to baked goods like cookies, cakes and bread, mixed into a smoothie with low-fat yogurt and fruit or added to soups and stews. Don’t throw away your pumpkin seeds, place them in the sun to dry and enjoy them as a healthy snack.
Pumpkin selection and storage is important. When buying, look for pumpkins with firm stems. If the stem is soft, it means it is not fresh and may not last long. If you’re buying a whole pumpkin, look for blemishes, bruises, pinholes, dents or soft spots. These are signs that the pumpkin would not last long. Leaving pumpkin in the sun after harvest for 1–2 weeks can increase shelf life as the skin becomes tough and rot resistant. You can store whole pumpkins in a cool, dry, dark place for up to one month. Once cut, store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Frozen pumpkin can last up to 1 year.
Try these simple pumpkin recipes.
- 2 cups grated pumpkin (raw)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½–1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
Mix all ingredients together. Put into a greased dish. Bake in a hot oven for 40–50 minutes. Serves 4.
- 1½ lbs. deep yellow pumpkin
- 3 ozs. fat
- 1 cup sugar (8 ozs)
- 4 eggs
- 2¼ cups flour
- 3 tablespoon powdered milk
- 2½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Grate pumpkin. Grease cupcake tins and/or line them with cupcake paper.
- Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating between each addition.
- Fold in grated pumpkin. Fold in flour and baking powder, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Put mixture into the tins. Place in oven and bake at 350° or gas mark 3.
- Let it bake for 20 minutes.
- When it’s cooled, to make it even more attractive for the children, you can put a dab of icing at the top.
Grenada Food and Nutrition Council
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