As Autumn begins to fall upon us, pumpkin themed food can be found in any restaurant or lining the shelves at grocery stores. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cheesecake and even pumpkin soup. But does eating pumpkin have benefits or is it just another way to immerse ourselves in the fall season?

 According to Cleveland Health Clinic, pumpkin is actually a fruit and it is incredibly nutritional. The clinic explained it is high in vitamin A, healthy for the heart and even contains carotenoids, which aid in fighting cancer. 

Nicole Miller, a health teacher at Salem High School, explained the benefits of pumpkin. 

“Like most fruits and vegetables, it is low in calories and is a good source of vitamins and minerals,” she said. 

Miller added that canned pumpkin is already cooked, which makes it easy to eat it right out of the can, although there are several good pumpkin dips that do not require cooking. 

Pumpkin seeds are also nutritious and can be cooked and eaten or even added to trail mix.

  “Some pumpkins are grown for decoration, not necessarily for consuming,” warned Miller.  

The only negative to pumpkin is that pumpkin itself does not taste phenomenal. Desserts and food that have pumpkin in them are usually filled with sugar to make them taste better. 

Miller shared that her favorite pumpkin recipe begins with one can of pumpkin and one yellow cake mix. 

“Mix the two together and bake it according to the directions on the cake mix. Top with cream cheese icing,” said Miller.

Linda Baird, an owner of Cornucopia Farms, explained that pumpkins can be grown at home and they are best grown in loose soil with a large amount of exposure to the sun. It is very important to have plenty of space. 

Cornucopia begins their process of growing pumpkins by selecting the variety of the pumpkin. They grow around 100 different varieties. They then order the seed, use the no-till method to plant it, fertilize, apply herbicide and fungicides and weed. 

To plant your own seeds, Baird suggests visiting Fisher Hardware, although Cornucopia buys their seed from a commercial supplier in bulk. 

“Pumpkins do not grow well in the same space every year,” warned Baird.

Cornucopia uses a four year rotation system for growing their pumpkins. 

If you are not interested in growing your own, you can support a local business and find a wide variety of pumpkins, mums and fall decor at Cornucopia Farms.