Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Great Pumpkin

It's rather unfortunate how little pumpkin people eat, excluding the mounds of pumpkin pie ingested at Thanksgiving.  Pumpkin is a super food; chock full of vitamins and minerals.  Even though pumpkin is a starchy vegetable, 1 cup of canned pumpkin contains only: 83 kcal, 1g fat(mostly omega 3), 20g carb, 7g fiber, 3g protein.  But it does have: 763% DV of vitamin A, 49% DV vitamin K, 17% DV vitamin C, 13% DV vitamin E, and 19% DV Iron.

While you might think that canned and home cooked pumpkin would have similar nutrient profiles, they are actually quite different.  1 cup of home roasted/steamed pumpkin contains: 49 kcal, trace amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, 12g carb, 3g fiber, 2g protein.  245% DV of vitamin A, 2% DV vitamin K, 19% DV vitamin C, 10% DV vitamin E, and 8% DV Iron.  I have a feeling the major diferences come from the fact that canned pumpkin is probably more concentrated than home cooked pumpkin.  Also, some vitamins and minerals will be lost in cooking water if you choose to boil it rather than roast, steam, or saut√©.  Besides making pie and jack-o-lanterns, there are infinite possibilities of what a pumpkin can become.  

Yesterday I made pumpkin oatmeal for a post 5K race breakfast.  Start by cooking 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats and 1 cup of water/milk in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir in 2 heaping spoonfuls of canned pumpkin, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Microwave 1 minute more.  Top with chopped pecans or walnuts, and a drizzle of real maple syrup.

My biggest accomplishment in the kitchen yesterday had to be my homemade pumpkin butter.  While it was a little labor intensive, it was for the most part, much easier to make than I would have imagined.  I found the recipe on this website, scroll down the page to November 2005.  While my pumpkin was roasting I prepared the seeds by soaking them in water to help remove the stringy pith.  After draining them, I sprinkled some 'garlic & herb' Mrs. Dash over them.  When the pumpkin came out, I roasted the seeds at 350* F for 20 minutes on a lightly greased pan; stir every 5 minutes.  Unfortunately the seasoning got slightly burnt, but the seeds are nice and crunchy.

Even-though I try not to eat lots of added sugar, I refuse to eat Splenda or aspartame.  However, if you insist on using it, I'm sure it would work fine in the recipe.  Ryan helped me can one jar of the delicious mixture, the rest is going to work for a "pumpkin cook-off" later this week.

Nutrition Bites:
pumpkin pie 1 slice (1/8 of 9" pie): 323 kcal, 13g fat, 310 mg sodium, 41g carb, 25g sugar, 2g fiber, 5g protein.

pumpkin butter 1 Tbs: 30 kcal, 8g carb, 7g sugar,   

roasted seeds 1 oz: 146 kcal, 12g fat (mostly unsaturated), 4g carb,    1g fiber, 9g protein
Starbucks tall pumpkin spice latte skim milk, no whip: 216 kcal,     216 mg sodium, 41g carb, 38 g sugar, 13g protein (contains no real pumpkin)

Cold Stone like it pumpkin ice cream: 385 kcal, 22g fat, 99 mg sodium, 41g carb, 36g sugar, 6g protein (contains canned pumpkin)


  1. What about mixing pumpkin & spices with your favorite vanilla ice cream?

  2. Mmmm... might have to try that mom. South Georgia apparently does not believe in cinnamon ice cream.

  3. Thanks for sharing that recipe. I really like the benefits of pumpkin for our health. It is low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients.