Whack! Annie cut the top off the ripe pumpkin reached in and began pulling out glistening seeds. Its pulp was a perfect shade of orange. “We’re going to have a lot of fun drying seeds and making bread and pies for the homeless shelter,” she thought.
LJ walked into the kitchen, “Okay Cinderella which one of these beauties is carrying you to the ball?”
Annie gave him the side-eye, “well my prince you’re just in time to help with the harvest. They are all just about ready.”
LJ looked out the window at the veggie garden, “we planted seeds the last week of May. It takes 120 days to grow, and they are right on time, but it looks like I’m gonna need help. There must be 50 pumpkins out there Annie. Why did we plant so many?”
“To support the food bank. This past year hit many people hard, and food insecurity got worse during the pandemic. These Sugar Pumpkins while not the variety that is used to produce canned pumpkin, the pulp of these beauties will make delicious soups and other foods, and the seeds will be eaten as healthy snacks.”
“Looking at these pumpkins makes me think of the Indigenous People of the Americas who grew them for thousands of years, “said LJ. “Pumpkins were used to keep the first European settlers from starving. Besides their delicious taste, they are cholesterol and fat-free veggie at only 49 calories per cup. Pumpkins are a good source of fiber; one cup of pulp equals 7-grams. As you know food high in fiber gives a feeling of fullness and takes longer to digest, helping with weight-loss and maintenance.”
Annie nodded, “Pumpkin is great for skin. Its carotenoids help keep skin wrinkle free and its high vitamin A content aids cell renewal and increases the production of collagen which makes for smoother skin. Vitamin A also supports healthy vision. Pumpkin is rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2). Amongst its many benefits, riboflavin helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. Folate is another B vitamin found in pumpkin which provides immune system support, so eating pumpkin during the fall and winter months helps ward off cold weather-related illness.”
LJ sagely observed, “seeds are the beginning of everything, and these pumpkin seeds are the source of next year’s planting, as well as great snacks. I love them on our salads too. These tiny powerhouses are concentrated sources of protein, minerals, vitamins, and phytosterols that help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.”
He looked at the pumpkin patch, “in the words of Garth Brooks, “Cause I’m Peter, Peter the pumpkin eater/ and the party has just begun.”
Annie shook her head laughing, “Honey call the neighbors for help harvesting. And go big or gourd home.”
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.