October Harvest of the Month: Pumpkin

You know fall is coming when Starbucks officially launches the Pumpkin Spice Latte and you start seeing pumpkin themed everything, everywhere. What would fall be without pumpkin? Luckily, for a treat so abundant this season, it’s also packed with vitamins and nutrients. 

Whether you’re heading to the pumpkin patch or your local grocery store, you’ll want to ensure you select a fresh pumpkin that lasts. Choose pumpkins that have a dark green stem and are solid in color, hard-to-the-touch and free of soft spots. A whole, uncarved pumpkin will typically last up to two months on the counter or on the porch (if you want to enjoy it as a decoration first) so long as it stays in cool conditions out of direct sunlight. If you’re planning to eat it after it has been on display, make sure it is still hard and free of cuts or bruises.

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, which supports healthy skin, bones, vision (especially in low light) and the immune system. It is considered a nutrient-dense food with important vitamins and minerals such as copper, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E in very few calories.

With pumpkin’s sweet flavor and crunchy seeds, many kids look forward to the pumpkin-containing foods of fall. If you have particularly picky eaters at home, you can encourage interest in pumpkin by carving pumpkins together and setting aside the pulp and seeds. Then, use the seeds and puree the pulp to make a recipe together such as pumpkin bread.

Check out these tasty pumpkin recipes: