Fall means pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pies. Pumpkin picking and carving. Pumpkin décor on every front stoop and in every store. This seasonal favorite is naturally gluten-free and truly is a secret celiac superfood.
It is packed with beta carotene (245% of the recommended daily allowance per cup of mashed pumpkin) and fiber (11% of the RDA). Pumpkin flesh is a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. It even contains a surprising 2 grams of protein per cup!
The seeds of the pumpkin are truly superfoods, too. They are rich in manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, protein, zinc and iron. The seeds contain a wide range of forms of antioxidant Vitamin E, as well as other antioxidants, and may even decrease the risk of some cancers. Every part of the pumpkin can be eaten, including its flowers which are a delicacy.
Pumpkins come in a variety of sizes and colors, from small, spherical, bright orange Sugar Pumpkins (popular for pies) to Cushaw Green & Gold pumpkins with their bowling-pin shapes. Cheese pumpkins have a round, flattened shape and muted light orange or tan color but are also great for cooking. Heirloom varieties of pumpkins have their own distinct flavors.
Pumpkin is also quite versatile in the kitchen. Pumpkin’s sweet flavor complements the traditional pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice) and the brown sugar and butter that are often part of pumpkin recipes. However, pumpkin also welcomes savory accompaniments (sage, garlic, shallots). Even coffee and tea drinks get the pumpkin treatment each fall.
It seems like pumpkin’s everywhere this time of year – but gluten is everywhere, too, which means most pumpkin-flavored baked goods and restaurant dishes aren’t safe for us celiacs.
Don’t worry, though – you don’t have to skip the fantastic taste and amazing health benefits of the high fiber, beta-carotene loaded squash that is pumpkin.
Here are 10 totally gluten-free ways to enjoy pumpkin this season:
What are your favorite gluten-free pumpkin dishes or desserts?