Though China now produces the most pumpkins and pumpkin seeds in the world, did you know that Illinois is the biggest producing state in this country? There is some compelling research on the health benefits of pumpkin (especially the seeds!) as well including a healthy lipid profile with high oxidative capacity and some anti-cancer benefits from the lignins and flavones in these seeds. Pumpkin seeds are nutrient powerhouses rich in zinc, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and tryptophan. To prepare seeds, separate them from the pumpkin innards and rinse well. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes at ~175 degrees. There is some research that suggests increased health benefits when seeds are not overcooked.
I like the seeds, but I also really like the flavor of the gourd itself. Here is a new take on an old recipe of mine, perfect for a Fall breakfast:
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1 small-medium banana (ripe)
- 8 ounces almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (dried ginger is fine, too if you don’t have fresh)
- 1 tsp peanut or almond butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (pure, organic if possible)
- ½ cup pure pumpkin (can use organic canned or fresh pumpkin puree if possible)
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Enjoy immediately.
photo courtesy of www.hungrycouplenyc.com via www.healthyaperture.com/posts for syndication