October is one of my favorite months of the year for many reasons, from the beginning of cooler weather to the love of pumpkin everything! October brings pumpkin to everything: scented candles, drinks and coffees, pies, muffins, breads, cakes, soups, seeds and more. So, it’s no wonder that pumpkin was given its own day, Oct. 26, for us to celebrate this wonderful squash.
But there is more to pumpkin than scented candles and food flavorings. Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A and is a good source of Vitamin C, potassium and phosphorous. Pumpkin is low in fat and calories, and can be enjoyed in so many of our recipes.
While we can purchase canned pumpkin all year long, we can only enjoy fresh pumpkin in the fall. If you find yourself searching for the perfect pumpkin to carve or cook in your favorite foods here are some tips:
- A good pumpkin should feel heavy when lifted, and be free from bruises.
- The stem should be at least 1 to 2 inches in length to assure your pumpkin won’t decay too quickly.
- Don’t worry about the shape of the pumpkin if you want to carve. Be creative with your design.
- If you will store your pumpkin, make sure to rinse it with cold water and then dry it thoroughly, before storing.
- When storing fresh pumpkin, keep in a cool, dry area. If stored correctly, a pumpkin can last for 30 to 60 days.
Keep an eye on your pumpkin for soft spots, which means it has started to rot. You’ll want to avoid storing your pumpkin on a surface that will stain, since that’s possible if rot does set in.
So, here’s to National Pumpkin Day! Have fun enjoying pumpkin in all your favorite foods. And when you carve your pumpkin for a festive decoration, remember to save those seeds for a delicious, healthy snack.