Every year, the United States grows over a billion pounds of pumpkins. And come November, after the Halloween hubbub has ended, Slow Foods estimates that two-thirds of those will simply be thrown away. And though we enjoy pumpkin-flavored everything, why don’t we indulge that often in the fruit itself?
For runners, pumpkins can be especially beneficial. Just one cup of cooked pumpkin provides more than the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 20 percent of your daily vitamin C, and has more potassium than a banana. It’s also full of fiber. That translates to better immune and gut health, electrolyte balance, and added protection for your skin and vision.
Adding more pumpkin to your diet takes a little more than just cooking your jack-o’-lantern, which doesn’t have the best flavor. But there are many other varieties of pumpkin that have been bred for their decadent flavor.
Jeff and Lori Fiorvich, owners of Crystal Bay Farm, have been farming pumpkins for more than 20 years. “When I first started growing, we just had a pumpkin patch. We were growing mostly orange pumpkins and some squash,” says Jeff. Like most people, he had no idea what kind of variety existed among winter squash. Now they are pumpkin pros.
“Right now at this time of year as they’re starting to come out of the field and you see this giant canopy of squash and then underneath all the greenery is this brilliant little package ready for you to harvest,” says Lori. “You just think about how delicious it’s going to taste and what it offers.”
One of Lori’s favorite ways to eat pumpkin is grilled. The Grilled Rosemary Pumpkin recipe that she shared with Women’s Running below is great for sharing as an appetizer or as a holiday side-dish. For this recipe, she recommends picking a dense, meaty pumpkin, like a green or grey variety.
Grilled Rosemary Pumpkin
1 winter squash of your choice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic
Dry jack cheese
Prep the pumpkin by slicing it in half and removing the seeds. Slice the pumpkin into half-inch wedges, leaving the skin on. Place the slices in a bag with olive oil, chopped garlic, and chopped rosemary. Leave it out at room temperature for the day to allow the pumpkin to absorb the oil, occasionally flipping so it becomes evenly coated. At the end of the day, remove the pumpkin from the bag and grill about 7 minutes per side, until carmelized. Place on a platter and season with sea salt and dry jack cheese. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.