P.S. Yes, I know the postscript normally goes at the end, but just in case you don’t make it that far, I want you to know there’s a great recipe awaiting you. Yum!
As seems to be my pattern, I’m barely getting my October post of seasonal foods in under the wire. I figured since tomorrow is Halloween, I’d start with pumpkins, which are incredibly nutritious. However, we all have our culinary limits and one of mine is that I refuse to wrestle with a pumpkin. I’m over it. I organized and managed too many pumpkin carvings when my kids were little. Now I prefer using organic canned pumpkin. It’s so much easier to open a can than it is to dig out the flesh from a whole pumpkin.
Most (99%) of pumpkins used in the US are for jack-o-lanterns. These are those big stringy-type pumpkins that work best as a launching pad for little-kid art. Or big-kid pranks. The smaller “Sugar Pumpkins” are a much better choice for cooking (if you really want to do that). I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because eating healthy gluten-free food is a priority to me, but in this case, I’m going for quick and easy, especially since many of the canned choices are so good. (Recipe for pumpkin buckwheat pancakes to follow.)
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and full of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene can be found in orange colored veggies like squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. It supports eye health and may even help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Raw pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite things to add to granola, trail mix, hot cereal, power bars, wild rice, or to toss on fresh salads. They were considered a medicinal food by Native Americans and although the Indians didn’t know the sciency details, they were right — the seeds are a rich source of zinc, which supports healthy immune function and promotes bone mineral density.
Hey guys, pumpkin seeds also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which help keep your boy parts running smoothly. Studies show this substance to be beneficial to prostate health, so keep that in mind next time you reach for a snack. And get this, pumpkin seeds are also a concentrated source of protein, so skip the high-fat, high-sugar candy bars and go for a handful of pumpkin seeds instead.
More seasonal foods for October
Apples (for more information on the health benefits of apples, check this post).
Lima beans (butter beans) are an excellent source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and promote balanced blood sugar levels. For more information on fiber and the gluten-free diet, check this post.
Onions are a staple in my kitchen. I love grilling onions, which have been a regular part of my CSA box of veggies lately. Onions are a true super food as they’re an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, fiber and contain an important phytonutrient called allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Plus, onions add wonderful flavor to almost any dish.
Kale (for more information on the health benefits of kale, check this post).
GF/DF Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes
what you need
• 1 cup gluten-free buckwheat flour*
• 1 & 1/2 tablespoons pure maple sugar*
• 1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon allspice*
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 &1/3 cup brown rice milk
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (no sugar added)
• small amount of coconut oil for cooking
what you do
1. Whisk together buckwheat flour, maple sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, whisk together rice milk, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Pour liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and blend until combined. Don’t overmix.
4. Gently fold in pumpkin.
5. Pour about 1/3rd cup of batter onto preheated and greased griddle. Flip when the edges of the pancakes fold in and the bubbles pop. Cook until each side is golden brown.
* Make sure your buckwheat flour is GF. Lauren (see comment below) from daringtothrive is right about Bob’s Red Mill. They don’t advertise their buckwheat flour as gluten-free because it doesn’t test out as gluten-free. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, but make sure the source you use guarantees that it has not been contaminated.
* I added the maple sugar the first time I made these simply because it was sitting on the counter and there was about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons left in the jar. I add a little to the mix when I make up my own pre-packaged hot cereal for backpacking. It’s great when you’re out in the wilderness and you want a nice sweet bowl of hot cereal before you hit the trail. Maple sugar is expensive, so don’t run out and buy some just for these pancakes. Leave it out or substitute something else.
* If you don’t have allspice, use a pinch of nutmeg.
These pancakes are so good! You can save the extras, freeze and pop in the toaster later. They also make great hiking snacks.
In good health,