Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For the Love of Pumpkins

Pumpkins are extremely versatile, they grow easily in almost any climate and their bright color cheers even the dark, cold days of winter. 

Native Americans had a multitude of uses for pumpkins. They used the seeds and flowers for medicinal purposes. They baked them, cut them in strips and grilled them, they dried them and used them for bowls, they even used strips of dried pumpkins to weave mats. 

Pumpkin seeds are full of nutrition and healing properties. They contain Vitamins A, B and E, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Protein and Zinc. Pumpkin seeds have been used as a pain reliever, an energy booster and a diuretic. The natives used them to expel parasites. They are anti-inflammatory and studies show they may prove helpful with arthritis pain. Phytosterols in these seeds can reduce blood cholesterol. On top of all that they're low in calories!

So next time you make a pie from scratch or cut a jack-o-lantern, save the seeds!

If your interested in learning more about pumpkins, here's a short History of Pumpkins.

Here's a simple, delicious recipe I found for whole pumpkins.

Ojibwa Baked Pumpkin
1 small pumpkin
1/4 C maple syrup
1/4 C apple cider
1/4 C butter
Place pumpkin in oven at 350 degrees and bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Cut a hole in the top, around the stem, and remove pulp and seeds. Save the seeds to eat later, they're full of nutrients and healing properties. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour into pumpkin. Bake for 35 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve. 

What's your favorite thing to do with pumpkin?

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