Pumpkins are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BC, was found in Mexico.
The color of pumpkins derives from orange carotenoid pigments, including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha and beta-carotene, all of which are provitamin A compounds converted to vitamin A in the body.
Is anything more fall-like than a pumpkin? These orange winter squashes are chock-full of vitamin A and deliver 3 grams of fiber per ½-cup serving of cooked sugar pumpkin, plus potassium. Note that the pumpkins you carve into jack-o’-lanterns are not the same type of pumpkins you eat. Try pumpkin puree mixed into mac-and-cheese or with hummus for a seasonal spread. Looking for more options? Add pumpkin to pancake batter, oatmeal, smoothies or your kid's favorite chili.
And don't forget about roasting the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and healthful snack and a good source of several nutrients, including zinc, which is essential for many body processes including immune function.
To toast your pumpkin seeds, first, rinse to remove pulp and strings. Spread seeds on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or drizzle a small amount of olive oil over seeds. Bake at 325°F for about 30 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir occasionally during cooking. Take a look at your spice rack and try a seasoning on your toasted seeds such as garlic powder or Cajun seasoning.
How a Pumpkin Grows
Vegetable Soup served in a Pumpkin Bowl
National Pumpkin Day from the Frank Family