Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

pumpkin spiced drinkAre you a pumpkin spiced lover? Do you flock to the local coffee shop or bakery to pick up the latest pumpkin spiced treat? You are not alone, in 2019 the pumpkin spice market was worth over half a billion dollars in the US alone.  Some of the popular additions to the trend this year are candy, hot or cold drinks, baked goods or mixes, ice cream or cold treats, breakfast foods, and even alcoholic beverages.

True pumpkin, not just the flavoring, is packed with fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C. Just one cup of pumpkin can provide 50% of your daily recommendation for vitamin C and 450% for vitamin A in only 50 calories. The beta-carotene in pumpkin has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and heart disease.

If you love pumpkin flavors and want to add a few pumpkin foods or treats to your diet, consider making them yourself. Not only will you save money, but you can also have better control on the calories, sodium, fat, and sugar. A typically Pumpkin Spiced Latte has anywhere from 170 to over 400 calories, but if you make this version from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach you can make a low-fat, natural sugar version for about 120 calories. The recipe even ends up being a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. Other pumpkin flavor ideas include:

  • Pumpkin Oatmeal – mix your oats with skim milk and ½ cup of pureed pumpkin. Add ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice or some cinnamon.
  • Pumpkin Smoothie – yogurt, pumpkin puree, chopped banana, ice, pumpkin pie spice, and a small amount of honey blended until smooth. Make it into a pumpkin smoothie bowl by leaving your smoothie a little thicker and sprinkling granola and a few other fruits on top.
  • Quick Pumpkin Soup – pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, skim milk, and basil, ground ginger, and garlic powder.  
  • Pumpkin Black Bean Chili – heat your pureed pumpkin, black beans, diced tomatoes, chopped veggies (onion, peppers, celery), with chicken broth and diced or canned chicken, and seasonings. Always look for the no salt added or low sodium versions of canned foods.

If you would like to pressure can your own pumpkin or winter squash my coworkers from the Ohio State University Extension Food Preservation Team recently did webinar full of tips. To access that information, go to: https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-people/food-preservation/office-hours-recordings  and click on Canning Winter Squash.

We can’t wait to hear your favorite ways to include pumpkin in your diet. Be sure to comment or share your favorite recipe or pumpkin tip.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

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If you’re anything like me, you love the Fall because that time of year means pumpkin everything! I can’t get enough it, but, each year as new pumpkin treats have been released, I have tried to get my pumpkin fix in healthier ways, with a splurge here or there, of course. Some of my go-to’s are Icelandic pumpkin spice yogurt and making protein balls and overnight oats with pumpkin spice peanut butter and canned pumpkin. There are so many ways to enjoy pumpkin for the whole season!


Pumpkins are already a Fall staple for most people in many ways, from pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes to carving pumpkins to make Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween. Pumpkins are extremely versatile. Most of us are probably already quite familiar with pumpkin’s use in sweet treats, but it can be also be the star of many savory dishes. Pumpkin can be great in soups, pasta, and even enchiladas or quesadillas. Give a savory pumpkin recipe a try, and check out this recipe for a hearty turkey pumpkin chili sure to warm you up on any Fall night!

Getting creative with pumpkin recipes this Fall is a great idea because pumpkins are packed with nutrients. They are full of vitamin A, hence their orange hue, as well as vitamin C. Pumpkins also provide 3g of fiber per 1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin, along with a good amount of potassium in each serving. They are also fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free. So how do you pick the perfect pumpkin? You want to select a pumpkin that is firm, without any major cuts or blemishes, and heavy for its size. If you are looking for a carving pumpkin, be sure to find one with a smooth, blemish free face and sturdy stem.

Don’t forget about the seeds, though! Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and fiber, as well as some heart healthy fats. When you go to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, don’t be so quick to toss your seeds! Roasting pumpkin seeds is both an easy and tasty activity. The first part of carving a pumpkin is to open the top and clear out the seeds from the inside. Instead of continuing the pumpkin carving right away, take a quick break and bring your seeds to the kitchen. core-2728867_1920Place your seeds onto a large sheet pan, and don’t worry about rinsing any of the pumpkin juices off of the seeds; that will add some extra earthy flavor. Toss the seeds with a little olive oil and your favorite spices. My family is partial to either simple salt and pepper or cajun seasoning. Then, just pop the pan into the oven and let the seeds roast while you finish carving your pumpkin! Take them out of the oven once they have become golden brown, and you can stir them occasionally to ensure even roasting. Enjoy!

With Halloween around the corner, there are plenty of ways to use pumpkin to make healthy treats for the kids that everyone in the family will love. Check out some fun pumpkin recipes on eatright.org, pumpkin smoothie, and chocolaty pumpkin bars. What are some of your favorite uses for pumpkin?

Writer: Amy Meehan, Healthy People Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County.








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pumpkintowerFall is the perfect time to enjoy pumpkins. My OSU Extension county office is located in Circleville, Ohio; home of The Circleville Pumpkin Show where you can find everything made from pumpkins. Although the show is over for 2016, check out the giant pumpkins shown at the event.  Some of these pumpkins weighed over 1,600 pounds! When you visit the show, you can taste a wide variety of food items made from pumpkin. We have everything from pumpkin chili and sloppy joes, to pumpkin pancakes, to my personal favorite, pumpkin brownies.

Did you know that Halloween pumpkins are edible? Look for pumpkins that are firm and heavy for their size. They are good sources of Vitamins A & C. Pumpkins are also fat, cholesterol and sodium free.  One half cup of pumpkin contains 25 calories, 6 grams total carbohydrate, 3 grams sugars, 1 gram protein and 1 gram of dietary fiber.

Looking for new ways to add pumpkin to your day? Try some of these recipe ideas:

  • Pumpkin Seeds – when carving your pumpkin, take the seeds out and roast them. Kids love getting their hands all gooey with the fibers that attach to the seeds. Add a little salt and you can enjoy a nutritious snack.
  • Pumpkin Pudding – a tasty light dessert that uses canned pumpkin. This easy mix and eat dessert brings fall to mind with the spices and fluffy pumpkin taste.
  • Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes – celebrate fall with this tasty breakfast treat. This recipe makes 12 servings at approximately 11 cents each. Top with apple slices for a low sugar treat.
  • Pumpkin Overnight Refrigerated Oatmeal – this new recipe combines rolled oats, Greek yogurt, pumpkin and spices for a tasty and easy breakfast. oatmeal3    oatsbowl





Need more ideas for this fall “Superfood”?  Check out the Fruit and Veggies More Matters website.

How will you get your Pumpkin fix? We want to hear from you. Share your story on the Live Healthy Live Well Facebook page.   

Photo Credits: Jennifer Driesbach

Michelle Treber


Goedkoop, S. Health-e-Recipes, American Institute of Cancer Research, Issue 628 retrieved October 7, 2016 from http://www.aicr.org/health-e-recipes/2016/pumpkin-spice-overnight-oats.html?_ga=1.45656932.1567956660.1370874924




Written by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu



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Amid all of the crazy busyness of our daily lives, it’s paramount to spend time together as a family. Common activities strengthen family bonds and build a strong foundation for nurturing, communicative, healthy relationships; those feel-good family moments.

Autumn provides opportunities for those feel-good family moments by enjoying the beauty of nature while learning about life on the farm through the neighborhood pumpkin patch. No matter what your age, there’s something very special about visiting a pumpkin patch and what better way to strengthen your family than a fall family outing?

I don’t know about you, but in my travels this fall, not a day goes by that I don’t see an opportunity to visit a neighborhood pumpkin patch.

Agritourism (income from agriculture tourism) allows farm operations to boost their income by adding a variety of activities such as pick your own pumpkin, apple, or produce patches; haunted trail/scary maze; fun-centers with bounce houses and slides; barn parties; and petting zoos with llamas, alpacas, goats, ducks, and geese. These activities bring out the “kid” in all of us.

Undeniably, what people go in search of in the neighborhood pumpkin patch are pumpkins. But, what people are really seeking is a good time, and a memorable family experience.

In addition to the neighborhood pumpkin patch, here are a few suggestions to increase time together with the family this fall – pumpkin patch

• Pumpkin carving or decorated gourd contest – Have a pumpkin carving or decorated gourd contest. Set the timer for one hour and allow each member to create the pumpkin/gourd of their choice. Have a friendly competition, awarding a prize for the best decorated pumpkin/gourd.
• Build a scarecrow – Make a scarecrow together using at least one piece of clothing from every family member. This can be especially fun if you find old pieces of clothing that have a story or a special memory.
• Read some fun fall books – Visit your local library for a variety of fall-themed books you can enjoy as a family. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert and Pumpkin Circle – The Story of a Garden by George Levenson are two great choices to get you started! Head to your local library and see what titles await you.

Happy fall!

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County/Ohio Valley EERA.

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Driving down a country road every roadside market is selling pumpkins this time of year.  Is the goal to find the biggest, roundest pumpkin?  It depends on its purpose.  If you are looking for a pumpkin to decorate – you probably do want one that is big and round.  But, if you are choosing one to cook then you want a smaller, heavier pumpkin.

Pumpkin contains antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, and some B vitamins, iron, calcium and fiber.  It is a great way to obtain your daily vegetable requirements. They can be baked, boiled, steamed or pressure cooked.  1 pound of pumpkin yields about 1 cup of cooked pumpkin.

  • Start by washing the pumpkin thoroughly with cold water.  Do not use soap, dish detergent or bleach when washing since these household products are not approved for human consumption.
  • To bake:  cut in half or pieces, remove seeds and stringy parts.  Place cut side down in a baking dish, add 1/4 inch of water and bake until tender.
  • To boil:  cut in half or pieces, remove seeds and stringy parts.  Cook in salted water, scrape out shell and use as a puree in pies, breads, or casseroles.
  • For longer storage, extra pumpkin can be frozen.

Don’t waste the seeds you cleaned out of the pumpkin, roast them.  A  one-ounce serving has 163 calories and almost 8 g of protein.  Try this recipe from the University of Illinois Extension.


  • 1 quart water
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter
    1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
    2. Pick through seeds and remove any cut seeds. Remove as much of the stringy fibers as possible.
    3. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, spread on kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry.
    4. Place the seeds in a bowl and toss with oil or melted butter.
    5. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan.
    6. Place pan in a preheated oven and roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
    7. Cool the seeds, then shell and eat or pack in air-tight containers or zip closure bags and refrigerate until ready to eat

On a nice fall day traveling through the countryside, choose a couple of pumpkins, a big, round one for decoration and a small, heavy one for cooking and eating.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Elizabeth Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension.

Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Ohio State University Extension Ohioline, Selection, Storing and Serving Ohio Squash and Pumpkin. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5530.pdf

USDA ARS NAL Nutrient Data Laboratory http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list

University of Illinois Extension, Pumpkins and More. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/pumpkins/seed.cfm

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PumpkinsFall is the season of pumpkins.  We see them everywhere.  Most of us have at least one pumpkin on our porch or near our front door. If you have not cut into it you may want to get some health benefits from your purchase.  The pumpkin seeds are nutritious being high in protein, fiber, magnesium, zinc and phytosterols, as well as delicious.  Below is a recipe to toast the pumpkin seeds that is quick and easy.  My family buys pumpkins just to get the seeds.

The color of pumpkin lets you know that it is high in beta carotene (Vitamin A) but it is also high in fiber and potassium with little fat and sodium.  With only 50 calories per 1 cup it can be a good choice for eating, but it is rather sour tasting without adding sweetener.  Thus, we usually add pumpkin to other food mixtures to eat.

Pumpkin pie is a favorite and can be fairly healthy if we use fat-free evaporated milk and cut the sugar in half.  Most people can’t tell the difference and its less fat, sugar and calories.  My mother likes to make her pies without the crust so it is even healthier.  However, my family thinks it needs the crust.  Pumpkin pudding can be easy to make by just adding 1 cup of pumpkin and 1teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to an instant pudding mix and decreasing the milk to 1-1/4 cups.  What are your favorite pumpkin recipes?   Please share some with us.

Do you have a pumpkin on your porch for decoration that you have not cut up?  You can freeze the pulp and use it in recipes.  First, wash the outside of the pumpkin, cut into sections, and put the pieces with the rind up on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 325°F for 1 hour or more until the pumpkin is soft.  Remove the rind and put the pulp into the food processor to process until mashed.  If it is not thick enough to stand in peaks, simmer it on top of the range in a saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes.  Put into freezer bags the amount you can use at one time and leave some space at the top for expansion.  Freeze.  The product can be used like canned pumpkin.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Wash the seeds removing the strings the best you can.  Mix together 1 teaspoon salt to 2/3 cup of water and add seeds.  I use a glass measuring cup to soak the seeds overnight in salt water.  Drain the seeds and put on a baking sheet.  Put in the oven at 300°F for about 20 minutes or until golden.  Eat.  Enjoy!


USDA National Nutrient Database at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

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