Halloween is my absolute favourite holiday as there’s something so cozy about getting spooked and cuddling up to your loved ones for security and snuggles. A visit to a haunted house, followed by a marathon of Halloween-inspired flicks usually does the “trick”. For a “treat” why not head outdoors for some fresh air and build up an appetite for some pumpkin-laden goods to do the mind and body some good. And there’s no better way to get outdoors this month than a visit to the pumpkin patch! Although, I challenge you to look beyond pumpkin carving and see what other fun things to do with pumpkins this season:
Here’s a little overview of our favourite Fall fruit:
Native to Central America and from the squash family, therefore, a fruit. This bright orange superfood is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health such as reduce the risk of developing cancer, offers protection against heart disease, and slows down the process of aging. It is also a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, B6, B12, iron, fibre, and zinc.
Even the seeds of a pumpkin offer some health benefits. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin, which promotes an elevated mood and restful sleep. Take advantage of this multifunctional food and make pumpkin pies, soups, and breads this season for a nutritional boost.
Now that we know how beneficial this harvest crop is to our health, let’s see what else we can do with this super-sized superfood to improve our overall well-being.
1. Facial: Pumpkin is a healthy food to eat, and its high concentration of vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc also makes it a great face mask that is good for all skin types. Take a couple of tablespoons of puréed pumpkin. Add a touch of honey and a dab of milk, apply to face for fifteen minutes, then wash off and enjoy your new glowing complexion!
2. Edible Arrangements: Small sugar pumpkins make perfect bowls for serving a hearty Fall stew. Just cut off the tops, scoop out the seeds, rub the insides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the pumpkins and their lids, right side up, for 25 minutes at 350 degrees on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Remove lids, turn pumpkins upside down and bake another 25 minutes. Let cool and then fill with your favorite fall stew- read post on “Zucchini Potato Leek Soup” for a suitable squash soup recipe. The pumpkin provides an edible bowl and sweet-savory taste addition to your choice of stew, and is seasonally satisfiable on the table!
3. Décor: Buy an assortment of pumpkins, some Fall florals, and candles in a variety of festive hues. Remove the pumpkins’ stems and insides to insert a water-filled glass vase of flowers or candle votives for an array of decorative looks that fits your holiday display. Mini pumpkins also make great place cards or place card holders, or give the decorations out individually as harvest gifts.
4. Hair Mask: Repair damaged hair with a mix of one cup fresh cooked pumpkin with four tablespoons of coconut oil in a food processor. Apply the creamy mixture to your hair, cover with a shower cap (or plastic wrap) and leave on for 30 minutes. Thoroughly wash out your hair and enjoy your illuminating tresses!
5. Pumpkin Bread or Cake: read my post on “Spiced Harvest Cake” and add one cup of pumpkin purée to the spiced cake recipe for added festive flavour and texture. This moist morsel of goodness is sure to have your family begging for more.
So, bring on the pumpkins and get out the carving knife, the cooking pot, and some crafty tools for an eventful month filled with feel good times. Let the fun begin!
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