The flesh of the pumpkin can be used in a variety of cooked dishes as a good source of vitamins K and A, magnesium, fiber and potassium. Vitamin A helps maintain eye health, potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure, and vitamin K and magnesium work together with calcium and vitamin D to build and maintain strong bones. Pumpkins also provide vitamin C, folic acid, pantothenic acid and copper.
When choosing a pumpkin for eating, select varieties bred for flavor, known as pie or sweet pumpkins. These are usually smaller, sweeter and have more pulp than the types used for jack-o-lanterns. Larger, waterier, decorative pumpkins can also be eaten. When using a pumpkin for both decoration and food, keep it safe to eat by drawing on it with non-toxic paint or markers instead of carving it. Or better yet, get one for carving and one for eating.