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The Great Pumpkin

jack-o-lantern puke

Pumpkin. It’s not just for funny fall decorating! Credit: JD Hancock, Flickr

The jack-o-latern: what a waste, all dismembered and left on the front porch to wilt and die. Why do pumpkins deserve this fate? No other fruit is treated so poorly. Especially when you consider how much this one has to offer. Those glorious orange globes of fall are truly multi-functional, lending their flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike.
Probably the most underrated of the gourd family, pumpkins can be so much more than pie or Halloween decorations, if only we would give them a chance. To say I am obsessed is to put it mildly. In my humble opinion there is rarely a dish that can’t benefit from this versatile squash.
I’ve made chili, ravioli and pancakes with its fiberlicious flesh. Add a half cup of canned pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon to your vanilla protein shake and you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving all year long. And speaking of the holidays — pumpkin and chocolate make a delectable combination. It adds a wholesome but decadent fudginess to brownies and pairs well with chocolate chips. Check out this recipe for Pumpkin Chip Muffins if you are a non-believer.
Don’t forget about refreshments. The subtle hints of nutmeg and clove make pumpkin beer a seasonal favorite. Pour yourself one of these spicy ales and snack on roasted pumpkin seeds for a nice dose of  protein, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium.
Absolutely all parts of the plant are edible and can be used in a multitude of ways. The flesh is a great source of vitamin A and aids in digestion. Does your cat have a hair ball? Mix some canned pumpkin in with his food. Need a good face masque? Get creative and use the natural enzymes of this fabulous fruit to give your skin a healthy glow or try this DIY pumpkin scrub.
I say this Halloween we make a stand and boycott the senseless mutilation of innocent pumpkins! Together let’s show the world just how fabulous these vine-y edibles can be.
Who’s with me? Anybody?
(Alright, go ahead and carve up a few, but make something tasty out of them, too!)
What is the most unusual dish you’ve made with pumpkin? —Karen

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