Pumpkin 101

Photo by Daniel Schuleman

By Abby Reisinger

Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin anything and everything — it seems that in the fall, the pumpkin is in vogue.

Harvested in September and October, this North American squash is a relative of the cucumber and watermelon, but it usually has white or (of course) orange skin. Plus, different varieties have some fun names like "Oz," "Autumn Gold" or my favorite, "Baby Boo." Besides its obvious use as a Jack-o'-lantern, the pumpkin is a versatile vegetable — the seeds and flesh are both edible in many ways. Here's our breakdown of America's favorite fall vegetable.

Health Benefits

This versatile vegetable is insanely good for you. One cup of cooked pumpkin has only 50 calories, no fat and no cholesterol and lots of beta-carotene and the antioxidant lutein, both of which keep your
eyes healthy.

Choosing and Storing a Pumpkin

Pick a pumpkin that is bright, smooth and firm. Whole pumpkins can be stored for up to 3 months in a cool, dry area, but once sliced, they can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week. If the pumpkin has been cooked, you can keep it refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week or freeze it for up to 6 months.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 1

½ cup raw, whole pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons melted butter
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
2. Toss seeds in a large bowl with melted butter and salt until completely coated.
3. Spread seeds onto a baking sheet in a thin layer.
4. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally for even roasting.

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