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Pumpkins: Not Just for Decorating Anymore

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Every year as fall and the month of October rolls around, you will see that many homes use pumpkins to decorate their homes in anticipation of Halloween. But, pumpkins aren't just for decorating anymore and many chefs and at-home cooks are using this fruit in many recipes.

One thing that many people do not know about pumpkins is that they are made up of 90 percent water. Despite this fact, pumpkins also contain other great nutritional aspects including potassium and vitamin A. The bright orange color of pumpkins also tells us that they are a great source of the important antioxidant, beta carotene. Research has indicated that diets rich in beta carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and protects against heart disease. It also prevents some degenerative aspects of aging.

If you plan to cook with your pumpkin and not just carve it up for the front porch, choose a “pie pumpkin” or a “sweet pumpkin.” These pumpkins are generally smaller than jack o-lantern pumpkins, their flesh is sweeter and they contain less water. Also choose pumpkins without blemishes or soft spots for the best and healthiest pumpkins.