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Pumpkins: Good for more than just carving

A trip to the pumpkin patch is a fall tradition for many families, followed by a fun-filled afternoon of carving jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins are great for more than just fall decor. The pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes the watermelon and squash. Its orange flesh has a mild, sweet flavor and the roasted seeds taste delicately nutty. Fresh pumpkins are available in the fall and winter. While some weigh in at more than 100 pounds, in general, the flesh from smaller pumpkins will be more tender and juicy. Pumpkin may be prepared in almost any way you would winter squash and is a good source of vitamin A: Blend a pumpkin smoothie. Whirl pumpkin, fat-free milk, frozen vanilla yogurt, a dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon in a blender. Add fresh cooked or canned pumpkin to your favorite pancake batter. Cook mashed pumpkin with chicken broth, fat-free half and half, nutmeg, onion and other spices for pumpkin soup. Serve in a cleaned out pumpkin for a seasonal touch. Choose pumpkins that do not have blemishes. Store whole pumpkins at room temperature up to a month or refrigerate up to three months. (Produced by ADAs Public Relations Team)

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