Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension
The most popular use of pumpkins this time of year is for jack-o-lanterns and fall decorations. But pumpkin is healthy and versatile, so we could be preparing and eating it in a variety of ways as well. Pumpkin provides fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and protein.
Here are some guidelines when choosing a pumpkin for cooking:
- Choose a small pumpkin that weighs between two and six pounds.
- “Pie pumpkin” or “sweet pumpkin” is a good choice, but the jack-o-lantern variety also works just fine for eating.
- Look for a pumpkin that has one or two inches of stem left. Pumpkins with shorter stems decay more quickly.
- Choose a pumpkin that has a rich orange color with skin that cannot be easily broken or scratched by your fingernail.
- For every pound of whole pumpkin, you can expect to get one cup of pumpkin puree.
If you want your pumpkin to have multiple uses, you can first paint a funny face on it for a decoration using non-toxic paints. After the holiday, you can wash and cook it.
To use the pumpkin for maximum benefit, don’t throw out the seeds — they can be roasted and eaten.
For instructions on roasting the seeds and preparing the pumpkin to make puree, view the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/