Pay a Bill
NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.
By: Sophie Wathen
Pumpkins have always been a traditional symbol of fall and the upcoming holiday season. From celebrations like Halloween and Thanksgiving, to seasonal favorites like pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin carving, pumpkins play a huge role in our culture.
With over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins being produced each year, not many know just how versatile these round, orange fruits (yes, you read correctly), can be!
Here, we’ll explore all the things that you didn’t know you could do with a pumpkin and help you wow your friends and family this season.
Everything is edible:One thing you might not know about pumpkins is that everything you see on them is edible. You can eat the skin, the leaves, flowers, pulp, seeds and even the stem! The parts of a pumpkin most often eaten, though, are the leaves and the seeds. The leaves are typically boiled and sautéed while the seeds are more versatile. These delicious seeds can be boiled, toasted, dried in the sun, or added to baked goods.
Take advantage of their health benefits:There are many health benefits to adding pumpkin to your diet. “Pumpkin seeds are packed with fiber,” shares Dr. Ashlee Roffe, Nutrition Director at Swedish Hospital. “Fiber-packed foods have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease and contributes to satiety (feeling full!) and can therefore aid in weight management”. Ashlee shares that the pumpkin flesh is also high in fiber and carotenoids. “These have antioxidant properties - try a pumpkin stew for a delicious fall meal!”
Feed them to your pets:Not only are the health benefits of eating pumpkin good for humans, they’re also great for dogs and cats! Feeding your furry friends pumpkin can help with soothing their stomachs as well as removing excess water in their digestive tract. This mineral and vitamin-packed treat can also boost your pet’s nutrition. However, you should check with your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet before feeding them pumpkin.
Use them as planters:If you have a few extra round pumpkins with flat bottoms, you can easily turn these fall favorites into planters! To turn the pumpkin into a planter, all you need to do is use a sharp knife to slice off the top and then hollow out the pumpkin. Once your plant of choice has been planted and the pumpkin begins to fade, you can plant the pumpkin planter in the ground and let the rotting pumpkin provide natural fertilizer to your plant and garden. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving!
Incorporate them into your skincare routine:While pumpkins are a great food to add to your diet, they are also great to add to your skincare routine! Not only is it a beneficial tool year-round, it is especially helpful when the seasons are changing. These benefits include adding nutrition to the skin and increasing moisture levels to help brighten skin tone. Next time you’re at the store, keep your eye out for pumpkin face masks or try your hand at a homemade one!