By Jennipher Walters for DietsInReview.com
Pumpkins come two ways: fresh or canned. While removing the flesh from your own pumpkin (perfect to do when carving Jack-o-lanterns) is obviously fresher, it can also be quite the chore. So, when it comes to baking and eating pumpkin on a regular basis, canned is your more convenient option, and thankfully, canned pumpkin is just as nutritious as fresh. Our favorite is Farmer’s Market brand organic canned pumpkin.
Pumpkins are high in potassium, magnesium, panthothenic acid, beta carotene and other antioxidants with properties that can help improve immune function and reduce the risk for chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Pumpkins are also high in fiber, and one cup of fresh pumpkin has a mere 50 calories, while one cup of canned has 80 calories.
Donít forget about the other parts of the pumpkin! The seeds contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and are an excellent plant-based source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds make a wonderful snack!
Pumpkin seed oil is also touted by many for its health properties, as it includes 60 to 90 percent unsaturated fats and is high in linoleic acid.
A recipe like this one for Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies, a DIR original by Terry Grieco Kenny, certainly offers all the seasonal flavors of fall that we love, and with only 83 calories you can have them any time of year for a guilt-free treat!
2 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp canola oil
2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or 1/3 cup each whole wheat and all-purpose flour)
Raw shelled unsalted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325įF. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick foil or regular foil coated with nonstick spray.
2. Put chocolate and oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium until chocolate melts, about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Stir in pumpkin puree until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg whites, granulated and brown sugars on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add vanilla, cinnamon (if using) and salt and beat until blended.
5. Add pumpkin mixture and beat on low until blended. Stir in cocoa and then flour until blended.
6. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, if desired.
7. Bake 25 minutes or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean. (A few moist crumbs are OK).
8. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Lift by foil ends onto cutting board and cut into 20 brownies.
There’s no limit to how you can enjoy pumpkin. Also try these recipes: