Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Preparing Pumpkin?

Are pumpkins nutritious? If so, how can you cook them (other than pies)?

Answer (Published 10/28/2005)

Yes, pumpkin is very good for you! The pumpkin's color is a clue to its nutritional value as a great source of antioxidant carotenoids. A half cup serving gives you a day's worth of these protective pigments. Pumpkin also provides fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus - and is low in calories: only 49 in a cup of the cooked flesh.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Energy - If you are a parent or grandparent, you know that abundant energy is vital when it comes to keeping up with the kids. Certain supplements can help keep you energized, naturally - learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

Most of the pumpkins sold in this country are used for making Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween. And then, of course, there's pumpkin pie. But pumpkin is incredibly versatile - you can cut it into chunks and steam it as a vegetable (add nutmeg to spice it up). Mix it with apples, pears and rhubarb, add it to casseroles, use it to make souffles, and toast the pumpkin seeds for snacks (just wash the seeds well, dry them on a cookie sheet and then roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit).

You can also substitute fresh pumpkin in any recipe calling for winter squash or sweet potatoes. Look for recipes for pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pudding, and even pumpkin smoothies made by blending cooked pumpkin with banana, vanilla, and plain yogurt.

Here are some tips on selecting and cooking pumpkin from nutrition specialists at Texas A&M University: 

  • Choose pumpkins that are unblemished and have no decay spots. A bit of the stem should remain in place. Store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place - it will last for months.
  • Once you cut a pumpkin open, you must cook it right away. If you don't, the orange flesh develops a feathery black mold. Chill cooked pumpkin immediately.
  • Use the pureed, cooked pumpkin within 36 hours or freeze it. 

This is the time of year to experiment with pumpkin. Enjoy!

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here