In the kitchen, at the table and in restaurants, pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger are flavors of the season.

It used to be pumpkin was a seasonal pie. But now pumpkin is everywhere. This hot, hot food is in yogurt, doughnuts, cookies and muffins — plus, coffee drinks and beer are showcasing pumpkin and the spicy seasonings that pair well with it.

Cooked pumpkin, rich in vitamin A and a good source of fiber, is good for your digestion, skin, eyes and blood pressure. All its orangey goodness brings plentiful plant compounds, making pumpkin a vegetable not to be missed. The spices we tend to use with it also deliver health benefits, so it’s a win-win for your taste buds and your body. Unfortunately, some of foods listed above don’t have any pumpkin. I’m looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Oreos.

Canned pumpkin is a staple in my cupboard. It is so versatile. I stir it into pancakes, oatmeal, soups, chili, smoothies and yogurt. Here’s how you can use it.

With 1 cup of pumpkin

Stir into 3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce.

Add to baked oatmeal.

With half a cup of pumpkin

Mix into each cup of mashed potatoes.

Substitute pumpkin for the butter in mac and cheese.

Add pumpkin to a package of corn muffin mix batter.

Blend into 1½ cups or a can of chili.

For each cup of uncooked rice, add ½ cup pumpkin to the cooking water or broth.

With a quarter of a cup of pumpkin

Stir pumpkin into 1 cup (about a 7-ounce container) of hummus.

Mix into a cup of yogurt.

The spices used in pumpkin pie spice are fairly common, so to save room in your spice rack, you might want to mix your own easy-as-pie spice blend: 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice = ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ground ginger + 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1⁄8 teaspoon ground allspice (or cloves).

Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions.

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