November’s Featured Recipe: The Health-Boosting Flavor of Fall

The vibrant colors of Fall produce supply a healthy type of eye candy this time of year. But did you know that within those beautiful orange colors live a wealth of health, as well as a flavor that will please your palate while it warms your belly? And don’t forget the comfortable and cozy aromas that will fill your home in the process.  I am talking about pumpkins, the versatile food filled with many powerful healthy perks. Pumpkins have much more to offer than simply decorating our porches on Halloween.

Pumpkins get their orange color from carotenoids, and even white pumpkins have orange flesh.  Carotenoids are converted to Vitamin A within the body, and one cup of pumpkin contains over 200% of your RDA.  Vitamin A aids vision and strengthens and protects the lining of your eyes, as well as other mucous membranes…a favorite “entry point” for germs.

Did you know that pumpkins are actually a fruit? (And the seeds of this fruit are also worth trying out in a new recipe) Pumpkins are a fiber-rich, as well as low-calorie food, making them hugely successful in warding off hunger while practicing healthy eating habits or trying to lose weight.  Pumpkins are also a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and potassium. The potassium found in pumpkins (even more per serving than in bananas) helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout, and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

Keep in mind that size matters when it comes time to cooking with pumpkins. Smaller varieties, such as pie and sugar pumpkins, star in the kitchen because of their dense, smooth, and sweet flesh.

Check out this recipe below, as well as many other recipes featuring these health boosting fruits, from www.countryliving.com, and consider adding some more pumpkin (pies aren’t everything, after all) to your Thanksgiving feast.

Pumpkin Chowder

Ingredients:

•    3 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
•    2 leeks, trimmed of tough green tops and chopped
•    3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
•    2 medium bell peppers, chopped
•    2 1/4 pound(s) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2- by 1-inch-think pieces
•    1 1/2 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh majoram
•    1/4 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
•    2 bay leaves
•    1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
•    1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
•    1 1/4 cup(s) frozen corn ?
•    6 cup(s) vegetable broth

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in green peppers, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until peppers soften, about 8 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.
* also excellent when you add chicken!

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