I think my new favorite thing about the fall are pumpkins. They are everywhere! I can’t wait until Vivienne is old enough to enjoy carving pumpkins, until then I will learn to love to cook them. I was first introduced to eating pumpkin when I was in New Zealand. The family I stayed with for awhile had it all the time with dinner and it was so good. They roasted it like we would potatoes or squash, and it melted in your mouth. There are so many varieties of pumpkins and so many sizes which ones do you use for cooking and baking and what do you cook and bake with them? We are about to learn.
Apparently all pumpkins are edible. This doesn’t mean they all taste good. The common jack-o’-lantern pumpkins have now been bred to have less meat and thinner walls for easier carving. They tend to be stringy and do not have the greatest flavor.
There are many different varieties of pumpkins out there. I want to focus more on recipes because I found some fun ones! There are a few varieties that kept popping up in my searches, some of the most common baking pumpkins are these highlighted on Food Trends website. http://marcia-passos-duffy.suite101.com/pumpkins-that-are-made-for-eating-a77186.
These pumpkins fit the mold for the stereotypical pumpkin as far as shape is concerned. They weigh about 5 to 6 pounds and have a deep orange color. Commercial growers like to grow the Baby Pam because of the uniformity in shape and are high quality. The flesh is starchy, sweet, bright orange and dry which make them ideal for pies.
Small Sugar or New England Pie
These varieties of pumpkins are the ones you most commonly find at your grocery store. They are known for making delicious pumpkin soup and have the perfect consistency for making puree. They are bright orange, string-less, and have a sweet flavor and weigh between 5 to 8 pounds.
These are an old heirloom variety and have a smooth round form. The skin is netted and the and the flesh is highly sweet. The Winter Luxury had a whole thread of gardeners and bakers who raved about this variety on a discussion board. They use it from purees, pies, to savory meals.
Of course we need to know how good pumpkin is for us! It makes it even more fun to eat. Pumpkins are low in calories, have no cholesterol or saturated fats, but are a great source for dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The pumpkin is packed full with vitamin -A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E. For more details on all the wonderful things you give your body by consuming pumpkin go to this website: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html
I found many different recipes that now I’m so excited to try! One is a pumpkin pizza dip. Yup, I mean does it get any better? I also am excited about making some puree and baking pumpkin zucchini bread. ( I have a ton of frozen zucchini from my garden and this will be perfect). A few weeks ago I tried making pumpkin fries. I peeled and wedged them, laid them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with olive oil, salt, and pepper. They were pretty good. I think the pumpkin needed to be a bit riper. That is what actually inspired this blog. I wanted to figure out the pumpkin. I did learn that pumpkins do need to be ripe, so maybe cooking it the day I bought it in September isn’t the best idea.
Get out your pumpkins and be ready to be inspired! These recipes are from http://www.pumpkinnook.com/ There are many more on this website, worth a trip to.
Pizza Dip in a Pumpkin Recipe
Description: Everybody loves pizza. So, this recipe will be a sure success at your Halloween party for kids or adults. This recipe is so good, you just might find yourself making it for an evening snack. Just set this dish out on the table and watch it disappear!
- 1 small pie pumpkin
- 1 jar or can of pizza sauce
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 Tablespoon margarine
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
How to Make Pizza Dip in a Pumpkin:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the lid off the pumpkin and scoop out the insides.
- Replace the lid.
- Put pumpkin onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until hot.
- While the pumpkin is heating up, prepare the dip.
- In a saucepan, add onions, green pepper and margarine. Saute until tender.
- Stir in the pizza sauce.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Stir and cook over medium heat until the dip is hot and the cheese has melted.
- Pour dip into the hot pumpkin.
- Serve hot with the breadsticks.
Make it Quick: In a hurry? Just heat the pumpkin, then pour in a jar of pizza sauce, leaving out all the extras.
Pumpkin Chips Recipe
Description: Yes, you can make pumpkin chips, similar to “potato chips”. And, there’s just a couple steps to it. When it comes to Fall recipes, this is one you should try.
- Pie pumpkin, peeled. You can use a regular Jack-o-Lantern or field pumpkin, too
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat deep frying oil in a fryer to 375 degrees.
- Slice pumpkin pulp as thinly as possible, no more than 1/8″ thick.
- Carefully, drop a few chips at a time into the hot oil.
- Fry until crisp.
- Remove chips from the oil and place on paper towels to drain.
- Salt to taste.
Tip: Pumpkin Chips are best served warm.
Pumpkin Dip Recipe (how fun for a kids party!)
Description: Spice up crackers, gingerbread, veggies, and more with this great pumpkin dip recipe!
||Pumpkin Puree- canned or fresh
||Cream Cheese, softened
How to Make Pumpkin Dip:
- Place pumpkin puree and cream cheese into a large bowl and mix together.
- Add all other ingredients.
- Mix ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
- Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
- Serve with Crackers, gingerbread, celery, carrots, etc.
Tips: For a lighter dip, substitute sour cream for cream cheese.
How to Make Pumpkin Vinaigrette Recipe
Description: Blue Cheese, French, Italian, no way! Pumpkin Vinaigrette is the proper dressing for any salad!
Did you know? The word Vinaigrette is often misspelled. Many people transpose the “ai”, incorrectly spelling it: viniagrette. However you spell it, you will enjoy Pumpkin Vinaigrette.
||Vinegar- use Cider Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
- Finely chop or mash the clove of Garlic.
- Put all ingredients except the Olive Oil into a bowl.
- Whisk all ingredient together. Mix well.
- Add Olive oil and whisk well.
Note: is important to mix the olive oil in last as salt will not dissolve in oil.
Stuffed Miniature Pumpkin Recipe
Description: Small three to four inch “Pepo” or “Jack-Be-Little” pumpkins make a novelty serving dish for your favorite stuffing. Your guests will talk about it until Christmas.
Select the Pumpkin:
- Select fresh pumpkins about three to four inches in diameter.
- Make sure to buy a couple of extra in case your family or guests want more or even one to take home.
- Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Wash the pumpkins.
- Cut the tops off the pumpkins.
- Scoop out the insides.
- Place a piece of foil on a cookie sheet and place the pumpkins on the sheet.
- Put the pumpkins in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the insides just begins to soften.
- For use with cold foods, allow to cool.
Stuffing Tips and Suggestions:
- You can use a wide variety of foods and recipes to stuff in the pumpkin.
- Food can be hot or cold.
- For hot foods, you can even cook it right in the shell.
- Use creativity and when in doubt, try it.
- Some of our suggestions are listed below:
- Hot Apple Sauce
- Turkey or Chicken stuffing
- Soup, especially Pumpkin Soup
- Apple Sauce, a great serving dish for kids.
- Pumpkin Puree, add Nutmeg and Whipped cream on top
- Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding
- Ice Cream- Vanilla, or Pumpkin are great, Chocolate for the kids
How to Make Pumpkin Puree Recipe
Making your own pumpkin puree is really an easy task. It is surprising that more people do not do this. If you have ever made fresh squash from a butternut, hubbard or other squash, you can follow the same process.
Here is our recommendation on how to make pumpkin puree(or pulp as some call it):
- Select a ripe and firm medium pumpkin. Larger pumpkins can be used for making pumpkin puree, but they begin to take on a grainy texture (the larger they get).
- Cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and fibrous strings.(We call them pumpkin brains)
- Cut the pumpkin into four to eight pieces.
- Line a large baking pan aluminum foil. This will minimize the cleanup task.
- Place the pumpkin pieces onto the baking pan.
- Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for one to 1 1/2 hours, or until pulp is soft.
- Remove the pulp from the rind with a spoon and discard the rind.
- Blend the pulp until smooth using a blender, food processor or mixer.
- To create a really thick puree, put the pulp into a cheesecloth and squeeze out excess water.
Make and use fresh puree whenever possible for the best taste and freshness. Leftover puree can be frozen for a short period of time. Canning of pumpkin puree is not recommended by the USDA.
Here are a few more recipes from
They have many more sweet tooth recipes.
ROASTING PUMPKIN SEEDS
Everyone has their favorite method. Here’s one that we recommend:
Rinse seeds well. Soak seeds for a day in salt water. Drain water and put seeds in single layer on cookie sheet. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F, stirring once or twice.
Or, if you want your seeds a little more quickly:
Wash seeds. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown. Stir occasionally. Roast plain, or sprinkle with salt.
From food writer Ellen Carlson, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press
Or, if you like it a little more complicated:
Mix 4-1/4 cups of raw pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon of oil, and one teaspoon of salt. Spread on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Let stand for 24 to 48 hours or until dry, stirring occasionally. Remove wax paper and toast seeds in a 325-degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. Let cool slightly, and pat seeds with paper towel to remove excess oil.
PUMPKIN BARS ( a Downing Favorite!!!)
2 cups Pumpkin
3/4 cup Oil
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Nuts (optional)
Mix pumpkin, eggs, oil and sugar. Add rest of ingredients. Pour into one 9×13 cake pan and one 8×8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes.
FROSTING: Beat together 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup soft butter, 1-1/3 cup powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread on COOLED bars.
That should be enough to get you started or at least get you thinking about incorporating pumpkin in a meal or two this fall. I can’t wait to try the pizza dip!