All About Pumpkins: Nutrition, Benefits, Recipes, Side Effects, and More

“While most people think of a syrup-loaded pumpkin spice latte or a special holiday pie, there are many ways to enjoy pumpkin healthfully on a regular basis,” Jones says.

You’ll want to eat the pumpkin flesh and seeds, but not the rind. “Treat the whole pumpkin like you would any other squash,” Harrington says. Try roasting it on parchment paper at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, suggests the Minimalist Baker. You’ll want to halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and top with a small amount of oil and salt before placing flesh-side down and setting in the oven. (15)

Baking recipes oftentimes call for pumpkin puree. “Pumpkin puree is such a versatile ingredient and can be incorporated into dishes from breakfast through dinner as well as snacks,” Jones says. “I like to add pumpkin puree to oatmeal and pancakes, as well as energy bites and muffins. You can also mix it with sauce to use as a base on pizza or for pasta dishes, or add to chili for extra flavor and nutrition.”

You can pick up canned pumpkin puree from the store, or make your own puree by taking the roasted flesh and pureeing it in a blender. “I’ve noticed when I make my own it tends to have a little more liquid, so I drain it with a cheesecloth,” Harrington says. Both canned and homemade purees are comparable in terms of nutrition — the major difference is convenience, Harrington says.

As for the pumpkin seeds, your best bet is to source your seeds from pumpkins yourself, according to the AHA. The store-bought seeds tend to be loaded with salt and, therefore, sodium. Once you’ve scooped them out of the pumpkin and rinsed them in water, roast on a cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. (6)

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