’Tis the Season of All Pumpkin Everything

Pumpkin is already everywhere. Here's how to use it right.


‘Cause we are living in a pumpkin world. Pumpkin patch photo via shutterstock

Pumpkin actually is healthy, but you wouldn’t know it with the season’s array of artificially-flavored-pumpkin-everything. Kate Scarlata, a registered dietitian with offices in Boston and Medway, says that the orange-hued mush is a great source of beta-carotene (a provitamin that’s converted into vitamin A in the body) and potassium (an essential nutrient).

The beauty of pumpkin is that canned versions are just as healthy as the freshly carved kind; so don’t be afraid to dig in, just make sure it’s the real thing. “You have to cook pumpkin either way for it to be palatable,” Scarlata says. “Canned pumpkin will have similar nutrients to fresh.”

Still, choosing the right gourd while perusing the market can be confusing, especially with the vast selection of styles, shapes, and colors. Scarlata says to go for the sweetest of the bunch. “[It will be] smaller in size than your typical [pumpkin] and more sweet,” she says. “Though you can use your jack-o’-lantern, too.”

Want to add the season’s most popular berry—yes, it’s a berry—to your home-cooked meals? For breakfast, Scarlata suggests adding cooked and pureed pumpkin to your morning oats with a sprinkle of ginger or cinnamon; or when making French toast, add a scoop of pumpkin puree to your eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon mixture. She also says that pumpkin puree makes a nice addition to pancake mix, too. For a more savory option, Scarlata recommends folding chunks of roasted pumpkin into your favorite risotto recipe or, of course, making a classic pumpkin soup.

If you don’t feel like eating your jack-o’-lantern, this season, you can also slop in on your face. G2O Spa + Salon is offering a “Pumpkin Peptide Polish” treatment ($115; 35 minutes), which is a service that their reps say “targets anti-aging challenges and exfoliates skin cells, leaving the face silky smooth.”