I love fall!
From long walks enjoying the turning leaves to the scents of pies in the oven and burning wood, there’s no other season that has so much to offer. One of my favorite things to do is go to the produce stands and see all the apples and gourds that are available now. And of course, pumpkins.
Below you’ll find a few interesting facts about this lovely orange symbol of the season, followed by a delicious homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe!
- Pumpkins are high in nutrients. They contain 197% of the Vitamin A you need in a day, 17% of the Vitamin C and 11% of the potassium. They also have high amounts of Vitamin B, iron, protein and fiber.
- Pumpkins are low in fat. They are also naturally low in sodium and calories. This makes them a great food for just about anyone.
- The flowers from pumpkins are edible. (See my entire article on edible flowers here.) You can batter and fry them, steam them, or make a cream cheese filling and bake them.
- Pumpkins are versatile! You can eat them raw, fry them like potatoes, make chips out of them like potato chips, make soup or stew base, puree and make pie out of them, or use them in breads, cookies and cakes. I love pumpkin blondies and pumpkin cheesecake. And of course pumpkin pancakes!
- The seeds are also edible. Most people roast and salt them, but you can use them in many ways. A friend of of mine makes hers with tamari. I’ve used them in cereal, oatmeal and granola.
- Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids.
- The largest pumpkin was recorded in Stillwater, Minnesota in 2010. It weighed in at a whopping 1,810 pounds and 8 ounces. That’s a lot of pie!
- Technically, pumpkin is a fruit. It is known as a “pepo,” the same family that watermelon is in.
- Pumpkins are thought to have originated in Central America. Seeds from a pumpkin have been found that date from 7000 to 5500 B.C.
- Pumpkin can be used externally too. I use a combination of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice as a facial mask. (Learn how to make your own pumpkin pie spice here.) Mix a cup of pumpkin and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Apply to the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Let sit for 30 minutes or so. Rinse off and apply a moisturizer if needed. I’ve found that I usually don’t need one. The pumpkin acts like a mild chemical peel while the spices are antibacterial. The whole thing is full of antioxidants. You can use this up to twice a week, refrigerating any amount you don’t use right away.
- And one more use for pumpkins…animal feed. All of the insides and skin go to my chickens. (I’d like to think I have some of the healthiest birds around.) You can really feed the leftover pieces to any animal. My dogs love it too!
I love pumpkin spice lattes, but the coffee shop versions are so darn expensive, are loaded with calories, and who knows what’s in the mix?!
So enjoy my very own recipe, using only natural ingredients. There are about 250 calories in a cup, compared to over 400 in the Pumpkin Spice Latte from a popular coffee shop that rhymes with Carshmucks. Additionally, this recipe contains no chemicals and very little sugar. You can make it with no sugar, or with any sweetener of your choice, like honey, sucanat, coconut palm sugar, or maybe even maple syrup.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons pureed pumpkin (make your own or buy it here)
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar or other sweetener, to taste
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (learn how to make your own or buy it here)
- ½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (learn how to make your own or buy it here)
- 1-2 shots of espresso (about ¼ cup) or ½ cup strong coffee
- whipped cream (preferably homemade)
Combine milk, pumpkin, sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the spices and simmer until heated. place the espresso or coffee in a cup. Add enough pumpkin mixture to fill the cup almost to the top. Add whipped cream and sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice on top. Serve hot.
What are some of your favorite ways to use pumpkin?