It’s peak pumpkin season, folks. This month many of you will carve faces into them, decorate your home with them, put your babies into pumpkin costumes (so cute!), and eat pumpkin spice everything. (Although I saw a picture of pumpkin spice hummus the other day and that’s going TOO FAR.)
But how often do you think to eat a pumpkin? You should, because they’re full of amazing benefits!
- Pumpkins (nan gua in Chinese) correspond to the Earth element in Chinese medicine, which represents the digestive system. They’re the perfect thing to eat as the weather changes and cold/flu season begins. Pumpkin is considered warming and deeply nourishing to the body.
- When pumpkin is cooked into soups or stews with warming spices like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, or cloves, the effect is even stronger.
- Because it strengthens our digestive system, pumpkin also has a beneficial effect on the lungs and can offer an immunity boost.
- Pumpkin is high in antioxidants, vitamin A, and fiber and low in calories.
- Let’s not forget pumpkin seeds! In Chinese medicine, the seeds (nan gua zi) are a traditional remedy for parasites and low milk supply. But even if those issues don’t apply to you, they can also lower cholesterol and help you sleep better. In my house, we always roast the seeds from our jack o’lanterns with a bit of olive oil or butter, some salt, and whatever spices sound delicious.
Note from the cook:
- Smaller pie pumpkins will often taste sweeter and more tender than large carving pumpkins.
- If you do try one of the big ones, buy one just for eating. Once they’ve been carved, unsafe bacteria and molds can grow.
- The same health benefits apply to all yellow/orange fall squashes.
Happy Halloween and happy pumpkin eating!