Halloween’s Coming Up, So Let’s Talk Pumpkin

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There’s more to pumpkins than spooky faces and lattes.

Here’s a fun history lesson for you: do you know why we have the tradition of carving Jack o’ Lanterns out of pumpkins? The tradition of carving comes from an old Irish folktale about a man named Jack who tried to trick the Devil to make a quick buck. When Jack died, he was sentenced to wander the Earth as a spirit for his crimes, so to frighten his ghost away, people would carve scary faces into turnips. Notice how I said “turnips” and not “pumpkins.” This is because, when Irish immigrants started coming to the United States, they realized turnips aren’t native here, so to keep the tradition alive, they opted for the more plentiful pumpkin. True story.

But pumpkins aren’t just for frightening away the souls of the tormented. A can of pure pumpkin puree is chock full of vital nutrients, and it’s tasty to boot. Let’s clarify something first, though: the pumpkins you buy for carving and the pumpkin you find in puree aren’t the same thing. You won’t get as much out of a carving pumpkin (though the seeds are good). The pumpkin you find in a can is known as sugar pumpkin, and it’s rich in iron, fiber, vitamin A, and more.

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If you’re a fan of fall runs, you should definitely eat some pumpkin for a snack. Iron is important to keep your blood pumping, and if you pair it with a healthy source of vitamin C, your body will be able to absorb it even better. You might wanna wait until after you go for a run to eat pumpkin, though, since its high fiber content can give you a tummy ache if you jostle around too much.

So if you’re looking for a cheap, plentiful source of tasty nutrition this season, scare away ol’ Jack with some fresh or canned pumpkin. Oh, and quick PSA, if you’re carving a pumpkin this year, don’t leave it on the porch until Thanksgiving. Don’t be that guy.