What’s in Season: Pumpkin

It’s not watching the tree leaves changing color in Central Park, or feeling the cool nip to the air as we cross the MetLife stadium parking lot on game day or even that first time we notice that dusk is descending upon us earlier and earlier each evening.  No. The surefire way we know autumn has finally arrived is seeing how many crazy ways pumpkin spice has worked its way into virtually every product we know of! Doughnuts, lattes, cereals, salsa, crackers, yogurts, juices… even pumpkin spice pork sausage!

Not that we’re complaining.  We love pumpkin spice as much as anyone else. We’re just a little concerned it might be stealing some of pumpkin’s glorious thunder.  Because we love the hearty, healthy, fall giant and the many versatile ways it can be incorporated into our diets, which is why we’ve chosen the big orange guy as Between The Bread’s Vegetable of the Month for October: Pumpkin.

Pumpkin is the season’s superfood.  It’s packed with dietary fiber, but also very low in calories, so it makes you feel full without weighing you down with extra calories.  Chunks of pumpkin flesh are filled with Vitamin A and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin, and carotenes which help the body fend off cancers. The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health and studies have shown pumpkin helps reduce high blood pressure.

And let’s not forget about the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are tasty and add great texture to any dish.  Surprisingly, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, the amino acid (also famously found in turkey meat) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, for better quality sleep. And guys should take note that, because of their high zinc content, pumpkin seeds play an important role in maintaining prostate health.

We’ll be incorporating pumpkin (and pumpkin seeds) into many of our dishes throughout October so be sure to sample them all and enjoy the benefits of this diverse, orange, autumnal wonder.