A SLICE TO SAVOR: Orange you glad I didn’t say pumpkin?

Kelly Burgess

Kelly Burgess

Orange is my favorite color, but of all the colors, I feel like orange is often ostracized.

From my experience, most people who like orange generally like it because of its association with the University of Tennessee. However, even though I am from Tennessee, I can honestly say that is not why I love the color orange.

I love the color orange because it radiates warmth and reminds me of every beautiful sunset I’ve seen. Orange is a transition color; not quite red, not quite yellow, it is somewhere in between, and represents the gradual change of seasons better than anything else. Therefore, fall is the perfect time of year to embrace the color orange in every sense the color inspires.

The first thing that comes to mind when considering the color orange and the autumn season is a pumpkin. Pumpkin is either something you love or hate, avoid or embrace. Whether you think it’s the greatest thing since sliced pumpkin bread, or too “basic” to stand, it has definitely earned quite the reputation.

But wait, I did say I wasn’t going to say pumpkin, so what’s the catch? Pumpkins aren’t the only orange things available to eat this time of year –– let’s give the other overlooked orange foods their time in the limelight, or orange light if you will.

The family of orange vegetables is not limited to pumpkin, but includes butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet potatoes just to name a few. Color isn’t the only thing that unites this fall faction. Common color indicates similar nutrients and nutrition benefits. Orange vegetables are rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, an organic compound that gives them their rich orange color. Carrots actually got their name from this compound!

In your body, beta-carotene can change into a usable form of Vitamin A, which will work wonders for your health! Vitamin A is commonly known because of the vital role it plays in eyesight and vision. Vitamin A also boosts your immune system –– something especially important as the end of year allergies and assignments threaten your immune health. Orange vegetables are also known to help regulate blood sugar levels, which is especially helpful for diabetics, or anyone trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To get as much of this orange goodness into your kitchen as possible, it is important to know the tricks of the trade for eating orange veggies. Butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet potatoes can all be used and prepared in very similar ways. The most basic way is to oven roast with either olive oil and black pepper or butter and brown sugar for savory or sweet flavors, respectively.

They can also be combined with apples and other spices to make creamy soups, or cubed and mixed with other vegetables. The squashes can be simply cut in half and stuffed with all sorts of tasty combinations, and sweet potatoes make awesome fries and pies!

Cooking with your variety of orange ingredients doesn’t have to be hard if you just get a little creative and “expand your orange.” Any way you eat it, your body will thank you.

Orange you glad there’s more to fall than just pumpkin?