Have you taken pumpkins for granted? Most of us have because we are accustomed to decorating with them and eating pumpkin pies only during the holidays. There is much more to pumpkins than many of us ever realized. If you want to save money on the grocery bill, here are a few pumpkin facts to bring you up to speed on why pumpkins are ideal for frugal cooks.
Pumpkins are very versatile and have been around for a long time! Some Native Americans used pumpkins for both food and materials. Long strips of pumpkin were dried and used to weave mats. Pumpkin jerky was made from some of the dried fruit.
From a frugal cooking standpoint, pumpkins are one of the most economical foods there is. Almost every part of the pumpkin is edible, from its shell, to the seeds, and even the flowers. And did I mention there are loads of different varieties, each with its own taste and texture?
Pumpkins are highly nutrition by themselves. If eaten fresh, without cooking, pumpkin has zero cholesterol, less than 100 calories, and low sodium. When we add sugar, eggs, butter, and other ingredients, our pumpkin recipes get heavy and calorie laden.
Pureed pumpkin can be added to recipes like muffin mixes and cakes without extra calories. The trick is to substitute the butter for applesauce and liquid oil to flavor the batter. Pumpkin puree can be given to babies to boost their intake of Vitamin C, however you may want to consult your doctor first.
Speaking of Vitamin C, pumpkin contains large amounts of the antioxidant beta-carotene. It aids in giving the pumpkin its deep orange color. We have heard about the benefits of antioxidants. They work to reduce the signs of aging and various diseases.
When pumpkin is a part of a healthy diet, supplements are not as necessary. Eating a piece of pumpkin a day is just as effective as an apple. If bananas are not the tastiest way to gain your potassium, try eating some pumpkin. It contains over 500 milligrams of potassium per serving.
Pumpkins seeds are removed when a pumpkin is hollowed out. Instead of throwing them away, clean the seeds off and roast them with a little bit of salt. Pumpkin seeds make a quick snack to eat on the go or when kids are watching television and get the munchies. The nutritional value is higher than eating a bowl of popcorn.
So there you have it – the top reasons why pumpkins are ideal for frugal cooks and are a great way to keep your family healthy. Try adding more pumpkin into your menus with some of our pumpkin recipes.