Season for Pumpkin: September – March

Pumpkin Described

Large, round and orange, the pumpkin is a glowing member of the winter squash family. Its orange flesh has a mild, sweet flavor and the seeds — when husked and roasted — are softly nutty, commonly known as pepitas. Native Americans introduced pumpkins to pilgrims, who soon thereafter were found baking pumpkin pies and brewing pumpkin beer. 

How to Buy and Store Pumpkin

A large percentage of the pumpkins available in the United States are primarily used for jack-o-lanterns, as they tend to be too stringy to eat. Smaller sized pumpkins have a more tender and sweet flavor and generally speaking work better for culinary pursuits. Choose a pumpkin that is heavy for its size and with as few blemishes as possible. You can keep your pumpkin at room temperature for up to a month, or up to 3 months in a dark, cold place. Any cut up pieces should be wrapped, refrigerated and used within 5 days.

How to Cook Pumpkin

Pumpkins are not just for carving, nor are roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie their only yummy offerings, not that we’re complaining! The flesh of a pumpkin blends beautifully into soups with your favorite herbs and spices. And small pumpkins stuffed with a healthy grain and other fixings are both eye-catching and delicious. How about adding some pureed pumpkin into your next cheesecake for an alluring twist? Think of pumpkins as just another winter squash, and use them accordingly.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Low in calories, high in fiber, the vibrant sunset hues of a pumpkin reflect their abundance of health-promoting carotenoids, including some of our favorite antioxidants alpha and beta carotene that can reverse sun damage and slow aging while preventing cataracts and tumor growth. The carotenoids also convert into Vitamin A in the body, promoting healthy vision and proper immune function. The dark orange color means they’re also rich in lutein, which has been found to be important for heart and prostate health.

Don’t forget the seeds! A good source of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and an excellent plant-based source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, pepitas make a smart snack.

Why Buy Natural and Organic Pumpkin

Our first concern when buying pumpkins is going local. Considering the largest pumpkin recorded far exceeded a thousand pounds, these babies are heavy! The energy it takes to ship them is of great eco concern. Finding a local farmer with a delicious heirloom variety for cooking will keep your carbon foodprint low. 

image: Solyanka