It’s pumpkin season! The star of autumn, our fall celebrity. Pumpkins are more than a cute decoration for suburban homes or Instagram-worthy activities. These famous gourds are a robust source of nutrients with medicinal properties. This is the time of year when customers jump on their favorite pumpkin-flavored LTO’s returning to the menu. Here’s a few reasons to incorporate pumpkin flavors in your restaurant’s menu concepts.
Research has found several health benefits of pumpkins including the positive effects on stabilizing blood sugar and its ability to lower blood pressure, serve as an antioxidant, and decrease inflammation and fight chronic disease. The seeds are high in protective essential fatty acids and amino acids. While the pumpkin fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals ranging from potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B6, iron, selenium and the precursor to vitamin A, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can help boost immunity and protect against sun damage and conditions that may negatively affect eye health. Speaking of eye health, pumpkins also contain two additional phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to lowering the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
The nutrient density of pumpkin leads to versatility in the kitchen. Pumpkin can be used in a range of dishes and with many different flavor pairings that will spice up your recipes. The soft sweetness of a pumpkin makes it a fan favorite in custard, pies and pancakes. It works equally as well in savory dishes such as soups and pastas. Here are some ideas for incorporating pumpkin into your seasonal menu:
- Season chopped pumpkin with fresh or dried herbs and throw it on the grill.
- Simply sprinkle a spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger on your roasted pumpkin.
- Add brown sugar, molasses and walnuts to pumpkin pancakes.
- Use onion and garlic in a pumpkin squash ravioli, soup or chili.
- Puree pumpkin to use as a festive baking ingredient instead of eggs or oil.
- Combine canned pumpkin with coconut milk and spice for a curry base.
Transformational Fall Toppings:
Pumpkin Chai Caramel Sauce: The iconic flavor and nutritional value of Pumpkin make it a favorite among bakers. This chai infused recipe is easy to cook-up and enjoy atop our NY Cheesecake or your favorite dessert, even delicious drizzled on fresh, crisp apple slices.
Pumpkin Whipped Cream: Quick and simple whipped cream recipe with spiced pumpkin folded in. Whip it up and top your favorite holiday dessert!
Salted Caramel Apple Pasta w/ Pumpkin Cream Sauce: Mixing our three favorite things: pasta, fall, and dessert.
Carrot Cake Corn Dogs w/ Pumpkin Sauce: A unique fall LTO bar guests will love!
Seasonal flavors, like pumpkin, offer a sense of comfort. Nostalgic seasonal flavors are widespread on LTO menus and some become so popular they stick around year-long. Pumpkin spice can trigger pleasant memories in your customers, so make one or two of these additions to your menu this fall and appeal to the masses.