Can you believe Thanksgiving is only one week away? Before you know it, the holiday season will fly by and be long gone! Along with the holiday season comes some of our favorite seasonal foods, like Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cranberries, and, most importantly – pumpkins! That’s right. There’s more to pumpkins than just carving jack o’-lanterns for Halloween. There are plenty of culinary options when it comes to cooking with pumpkins and these include baking, steaming and boiling. Pumpkin flavors are described as “earthy, rich and sweet.” Pumpkins are becoming more popular than ever. Some would even consider pumpkin as the signature flavor of autumn.
The Rise of the Pumpkin Everything
Some of you who shop at stores such as Trader Joe’s or Starbucks know about the large variety of pumpkin-themed products ranging from pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin croutons. You therefore have been aware of the “rise of the pumpkin craze” for years. It appears as if the popularity of pumpkins shows no sign of slowing down, as more and more chefs and restaurants are buying into the trend. In 2011, there were over 60 pumpkin-themed menu items that appeared in America’s top 250 chain restaurants.
Luckily, if you are the type of person who overloads on pumpkins during this time of year, you may (or may not) be aware of some of their reported health benefits.
Slows Digestion –Pumpkins are very rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling full. This is great for those of us who are trying to stay on a diet before the big feast later this month.
Sharpens Your Sight – Like carrots, pumpkins are a great vegetable that helps your vision. They are packed with Vitamin A, which is essential for eye health and helps your vision in dim light. Pumpkins also have a lot of Vitamin C, which has many benefits, such as helping your immunity system as the cold weather creeps in.
Reduces Health Risk –Pumpkins contain beta-carotene. Research shows that this antioxidant plays a large role in lowering your risk for certain types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. This same antioxidant also has many benefits for your eyes and skin.
Chances are the pumpkin pie you’ll be eating on Thanksgiving may be a bit less healthy than what pumpkins, in general, can offer you, healthwise. Pumpkin is definitely an ingredient that will spruce up any dish for this holiday season, and it is one of our favorite seasonal ingredients to cook with here at Dorsey Schools. Will you be cooking with pumpkins for Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments!
Field pumpkins are normally used for decoration and making jack o’-lanterns, and in most cases, they are too big and messy for cooking and baking. The much smaller sugar pumpkins are the ideal choices for cooking with, as they are much more flavorful. Try to pick a smaller pumpkin with a dark color which is consistent throughout. A medium sized sugar pumpkin (4-pounds) should make about 1 ½ cups of mashed pumpkin. This puree can be used in all of our holiday recipes which call for canned pumpkin.
Culinary Arts Schools Diploma Program
The Culinary Arts Diploma Program at Dorsey Schools offers career training in this popular profession that continues to grow. Cooking has been elevated in the past few years from an intriguing hobby to a whimsical art form to a serious career goal, crafted by dedicated and experienced professionals. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.dorsey.edu/disclosures