***Recipes and Newsroom traditions pullout at the end of article.***
Long before Starbucks induced mass hysteria every September by squirting pumpkin-flavored syrup into a cup (#psl), and Pinterest simultaneously provided fall decor inspiration and an overwhelming sense of domestic ineptitude, the pumpkin was a source of nutrition for Central Americans.
Fast forward 7,500 years and the pumpkin is the unofficial symbol of autumn and still a seasonal source of nutrition and a canvas for culinary creativity ranging from sweet to savory and from breakfast to dinner.
Archaeologists have traced the pumpkin back to Oaxaca, Mexico and Central America where the Pre-Colombian civilizations grew the gourd for its nutritional value and ability to keep and not spoil over winter months.
North American natives also grew and harvested the gourd and introduced and other crops to starving pilgrims.
More than folklore, pumpkins were indeed part of the colonial American culinary repertoire. Women looked for different ways to prepare the flesh including mashing it with spices or making savory soups.
“It’s a true American native plant,” said Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, senior nutritionist at Price Chopper and its affiliated brands. “There’s a substantial pumpkin tradition in Mexico and South America.”
Pumpkin pie has been a part of Thanksgiving tables since the holiday’s inception in the 1863.
In 1925, a facility in Morton, Illinois started processing and canning the pumpkins that grew in abundance in surrounding fields. Today, Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin accounts for eight out of every 10 cans of…
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