Fall fever has got a hold on me. Autumn’s first official day started this Monday. Pasadena is still lovely with its sticky and humid weather, but the morning is faintly colder. On my usual Trader Joe’s trek that Monday, a Sweet Pumpkin had found its way into my cart. A mini mountain of petite-sized sweet pumpkins at TJ’s was made to look even more adorable with the store’s little adage: Cut Sweet Pumpkins and bake, add cinnamon and brown sugar for a sweet treat. Their cuteness alone, was enough to sell me on a dozens of Sweet Pumpkins. But now, they were promising a delicious and festive dessert? I must have one, I thought. And at $1.99 a pop, who could resist?
It turns out too, that pumpkins–all breeds from the squash family–offer major nutrients for your hair. Instyle’s fall fashion issue even offered the tip that snacking an ounce of pumpkin seeds three times a week helps prevent hair loss. Hereditary, yes, but thin, fragile follicles are also a result of excessive levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) – a metabolic testosterone that normally helps teenage boys become men. Ingredients in pumpkins help break down DHT levels in the liver, helping to keep your mane thick and shiny. Here’s what one article said:
“Pumpkin seeds help to block DHT, which is responsible for genetic hair loss. This common seed is loaded with zinc and magnesium that have the ability to block enzymes, which yield DHT causing damage to follicles and result in hair loss.”
I love mother nature’s little cure-all secrets.
Once chopped open — and seeds are scraped out and properly baked for crunchy, hair-growing snacks later — Sweet Pumpkins can be baked or steamd and made into pureed for cookies, cakes, garnishes and pumpkin-flavored pancakes. Oh lord. To this day, my dad says that one of the msot delicious desserts he’s had were Grandma’s pumpkin doughnuts, which she used to bake when he was just a kid.
Once, my mom gave me a Halloween card with one of those soft, felt covers. It was the ’80s and the was considered fancy by my five-year-old standards. On the cover, there was an orange, smiling “fuzzy” pumpkin. The card was even shaped like a pumpkin. Inside, it said something like, “To my l’il pumpkin. Happy Halloween, I love you, Mom.” Back then, I think I had rubbed that card every moment that I could get it into my hands, just so I could feel its softness. Maybe I was just comforted by its tender surface or maybe it was a reminder of my mom. Regardless, it was the best l’il pumpkin that I’ve ever had.