Local and Seasonal Food Series Part 5
This is quite a week on the calendar as we celebrate Halloween, welcome November, and turn the clocks back on Sunday. While the holiday season is gearing up, it’s easy to start feeling a mixture of excitement, wistfulness, and overwhelm all at the same time. I encourage you to remember to prioritize your wellbeing and make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time to rest and recharge throughout this highly social season.
Food plays an integral role in festivities over the next few months, which is equally part of the joy and the stress of the season for many. There are still plenty of nutritious, local and seasonal options to take advantage of even as the colder temperatures settle in. Some of the most beloved and traditional flavors of the holidays come from right here in our New England backyard!
This week we join pumpkin mania as we look at the incredible benefits real pumpkin has to offer us, as well as the amazing antioxidant benefits cranberries have to offer. Both of these seasonal favorites are great for keeping up your energy and warding off colds. These two flavors also go great together in a variety of recipes!
Available September, October, and November in the Northeast.
WE LOVE PUMPKINS BECAUSE THEY ARE:
Loaded with beta-carotene - Vitamin A - which helps keep skin and eyes healthy, supports the immune system and neutralizes free radicals.
A great source of fiber and digestion support.
High in immune boosting vitamin C.
Rich in potassium, which is helpful with fluid & electrolyte balance.
High in iron, calcium and protein.
Almost better than the pumpkin’s meat are the seeds (aka pepitas)! They are super high in iron, manganese and a number of other key minerals; they also contain large amounts of Vitamin K and protein. Remember, iron is necessary for cell production and growth, and circulating oxygen throughout the body. This is important for us and even more important for fertility.
You can feel very good about snacking away on pumpkin seeds and adding them to your favorite salads for an appetite controlling, nutrient dense, energizing crunch.
WAYS TO ENJOY PUMPKIN AND PUMPKIN SEEDS:
Tip: When it comes to cooking, the heavier the pumpkin the better. Avoid broken skin and black or mushy spots.
Check out this handy pumpkin seed recipe resource from Delish that provides 16 different ways to mix them up.
Thanks to this chia seed pudding recipe from Greatist, you can combine the hottest flavor of the season with your omega-rich chia seed pudding to enjoy for breakfast or a snack! It calls for canned pumpkin, which is certainly easier than roasting your own and necessary when pumpkins are not in season. Just be sure you’re buying organic canned pumpkin and look for it in a BPA free can.
This beautiful Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, and Quinoa Salad by Fraiche Nutrition is not only flavorful, but is also packed with nutrients, uses both the seeds and the pumpkin meat, and includes another local and seasonal favorite - cranberries.
It wouldn’t be November without a Pumpkin Pie recipe, would it?! This flavor-rich, low sugar, dairy and gluten free pumpkin pie recipe from the Roasted Root will satisfy any Thanksgiving tradition.
Available September - December in the Northeast.
Cranberries are a bit of a big deal and have a rich history here in New England, their home of origin. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association reports that Native Americans “have enjoyed the annual harvest of sasumuneash - wild cranberries - for 12,000 years.”
If you’re in the Massachusetts area, you can make a day of visiting a cranberry bog this time of year!
WE LOVE CRANBERRIES BECAUSE THEY ARE:
One of the highest sources of antioxidants over any other fruit, which protects us from cancer causing free-radical damage, inflammation and are great for heart health.
High in immune boosting vitamin C.
A good source of dietary fiber, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid.
An internal cleanser due to their anti-septic and diuretic effect.
WAYS TO ENJOY CRANBERRIES:
Tip: The more red in color, the higher the antioxidant content
Let’s get right to the good stuff. If you’re going to be celebrating the holidays, you may as well get your antioxidants while you do it! Use fresh, organic, no sugar added cranberry juice in this Cranberry Mimosa recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen:
½ cup of fresh cranberry juice (no added sugars!)
3 pieces of fresh cranberries
First, add cranberry juice in a wine glass. Then, pour sparkling wine to top. Finish with cranberry garnishing.
If you’re looking for a good hors d'oeuvre to bring to a party, this Cranberry Salsa from Dr. Axe is a creative alternative to your typical tomato salsa. It also combines pumpkin seeds and cranberries for a super-food double punch.
Try this incredibly easy Healthy Paleo Cranberry Coffee Cake from Paleo Gluten Free Eats for a sweet brunch treat!
Start your day off right by working cranberries into your smoothie rotation with this Festive Spice Holiday Smoothie recipe from Kimberly Snyder.