Happy Fall! I hope you are enjoying the lovely weather of a crisp 80 degrees. Our produce of the month is perfect for the upcoming holiday… Pumpkins! These aren’t typically home-grown types of produce, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the festivals around the state. The top pumpkin growers are Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. It must be that cold weather that helps them grow. However, pumpkins can be a confusing produce item because there are many different families of pumpkins. The one we typically turn into a jack-o-lantern comes from the C.pepo family, which are the summer squashes, like zucchini. Pumpkins are like the odd-family member because they have thicker skin that appears to be closer related to the winter squashes like butternut or acorn squash. If you want to see a cool looking pumpkin, research the Naples Long Pumpkin which grows like a giant “U”.
Pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A. This vitamin is important to help you see, especially in dim light rooms. Another benefit of Vitamin A is protecting your body from infections and illnesses. Perfect to help keep you healthy during Flu season. Pumpkins are also high in Vitamin C, the vitamin we typically associate with citrus products. Vitamin C functions in a similar way as Vitamin A to help protect you from infections. However, it also has another great role: making collagen. Collagen is necessary for hair, skin, and nails growth.
There are many recipes out there to incorporate pumpkin into your diet, and I’m not talking about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. You can throw in some pumpkin puree to make a delicious breakfast waffle. If you’re in the mood for something savory: try pumpkin cornbread, hummus, or pumpkin carbonara pasta. It can be the perfect on-the-go snack or quick meal before class. When buying pumpkin at the store, try to go for the easier option of pumpkin puree in a can. You can buy a whole pumpkin if you plan on roasting pumpkin pieces and serving it as a side. For more recipes, check out the recipe page on the October Produce of the Month Page.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!