Fall is officially here now, and with it it brings orange, yellow and red leaves, sweaters, harvest, corn, Thanksgiving, squashes, Halloween, and of course the mandatory pumpkins.
For the past week I’ve been back home in Moldova, having a beautiful time visiting my family after 2 years. It has been such a heart-warming few days to see my parents, brother, grandparents, and other relatives and friends that I haven’t seen in years….
I spent 3 days last week at the countryside, where now it’s full on harvest season. Growing grapes and wine making is especially popular in Moldova, where the sunny and hot summers, the soil, and the hilly land surface is favourable for vineyards. My grandparents are farmers, growing their own food, animals, and every fall they make wine to drink during the year ahead.
So while being there I spent the majority of every day helping with grape-picking which had to be done before the weather gets freezing cold at night. The weather has been beautiful so far, warm and sunny days… Nights are however getting rather cold.
It’s been so therapeutic to just spend time outside, harvesting and eating grapes, freshly-picked pears, melons and watermelons, and other vegetables and fruit. The enzymes and nutrients are at a peak right after picking!
I had minimal access to technology as well – of course there is no internet in the village – which has been a refreshing break actually. I did use the opportunity for the spare time I had to listen to an audiobook a few times while being in the vineyard.
Here are a few pictures so you can see what it all looked like.
Fall for a lot of us associates with pumpkins and squashes, which are found in abundance in grocery stores and at farmers markets.
We have had a LOT of pumpkins here too (here’s my brother and dad carrying a couple of the largest specimens!)…
…so I was inspired to create this post about this awesome seasonal veggie that brings many health benefits at a cheap price. Despite this, in my opinion it is under-eaten, as a lot of people only eat it only in sugary pumpkin pies and just carve them as decorations for Halloween.
Here are a few reasons why you should eat more pumpkin this season.
4 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Very rich source of fiber
Fiber helps to keep you fuller for longer, and is essential for regular bowel movements and keeping the colon clean. A cup of mashed pumpkin contains 3 grams of fiber.
Help prevent heart disease, cancer, and many of the degenerating signs of aging
The large amount of carotene in pumpkin, which gives its bright orange colour, converts into vitamin A in the body which helps to prevent degenerative diseases.
Supports good vision
Vitamin A is crucial for good vision. Also, the favonoids in pumpkin destroy harmful free radicals, helping protect the retina from macular degeneration.
Good for your heart
The large amount of fiber, potassium, vitamin A and C contained in pumpkin makes it an awesome food for supporting a healthy heart.
And… DON’T throw away those seeds!
Pumpkin seeds are a nutritional powerhouse by themselves. They are also a rich source of anti-cancer antioxidants, zinc, heart-healthy and brain-healthy fats, and they also support prostate health for men.
They are such an easy-to-carry snack, which can be eaten by itself, as part of trail mixes, or sprinkled on top of cereal, salads, yoghurt or other dishes.
So finally, last but not least, I wanted to share with you a delicious recipe for a pumpkin dish created by chef Gennaro Contaldo – along with a video in which it’s hard to not fall in love with his passion – that you can easily make to take advantage of this healthy and delicious seasonal vegetable, specifically pumpkin risotto.
roasted pumpkin (sliced & roasted with olive oil, garlic and chili)
1 1/4 cup risotto rice
sage leaves for garnish
** Note: In the video Gennaro uses onion pumpkin, but feel free to use any other type of pumpkin.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What are your favourite fall vegetables? What is your favourite way to eat pumpkin?