Jena DeMoss: The perks and the possibilities of pumpkin

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Happy fall, y’all! October is often associated with pumpkin, and rightfully so as Halloween is the first holiday celebrated this season. From carving pumpkins to ordering this flavor at our favorite coffee shops, we notice the many fall facelifts companies do to their products to welcome this time of the year.

Yet instead of purchasing the pumpkin-flavored boxes of popular snack foods, why not pick up pumpkin in canned form and whip up something in the kitchen yourself? This orange gourd steps into the spotlight this season – give your family members a recipe to talk about, and enjoy the benefits that come from this fall favorite, too.

Protect your Sight with a Smoothie: Wake those tired eyes with a smoothie that promotes eye health. Simply blend a quarter of a cup of 100% pure pumpkin with fruit such as bananas or pineapple, milk, and a dash of cinnamon for a frozen fall drink you’ll jump out of bed for. The vibrant orange color of pumpkin comes from the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body – the A+ vitamin for eye health.

A Bowl of Chili to Boost Immunity: There’s nothing better than warming up with a bowl of chili on a crisp, fall day – well, besides adding a can of pumpkin to that very steamy soup. Not only are you adding more fiber to the pot, your family won’t even notice. In addition, fall welcomes the start of cold and flu season, so why not protect yourself with the plethora of nutrients that defend us against sick days? You can thank the vitamins C and A found within this great gourd for that.

Eat Mac-n-Cheese and Look Young While You Do It: What’s better than vegetables? Invisible ones that your kids (or spouse) try to avoid. Serve up a dish that’s devoured by all, yet jazz it up with a can of pumpkin. Not only will the orange puree mix in well with the cheese, the beta-carotene found within this canned pick acts as a natural sunblock.

Snack Right: Put energy bites with pumpkin on your snack list this week to keep hunger at bay the fall, flavorful way. Simply add a half a cup of pumpkin puree to your favorite energy bite recipe and enjoy the flavor of the season in a no-bake bite. With an ample amount of fiber found in this canned option, you’ll notice snack attacks are few and far between.

There you have it – four perks and possible ways to include this popular flavor of fall into your dishes. Enjoy it in foods that you create, alongside some of the dishes and drinks you’ve waited for all year.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Cookies

Serves 18 (1 each)

All you need

• 1 cup pitted Medjool dates

• 1½ cups Hy-Vee quick oats

• ½ cup Full Circle Market organic 100% pure pureed pumpkin

• ½ cup Hy-Vee whole natural almonds

• 2 tbsp Hy-Vee Select 100% pure maple syrup

• ½ tsp ground nutmeg

• ¾ cup Hy-Vee milk chocolate baking chips

All you do

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Place dates, oats, pumpkin puree, almonds, syrup, and nutmeg in a food processor. Cover and process until combined.

2. Stir in milk chocolate baking chips.

3. Roll mixture into 18 (1-in.) balls. Place on prepared baking sheet; flatten each ball.

4. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Recipe source: October 2021 Seasons magazine

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.