Pumpkins outside a rural home

Pumpkins outside a rural home

Halloween spookiness has just passed us by, but the harvest feeling is still in the air! Put away the costumes, but keep out the pumpkin décor. At this point, much of it is on clearance, including fresh and canned pumpkin, along with wreathes and glass pumpkins. Swoop in and gather up all you can for the cold winter ahead.

Pumpkin is very versatile and works well in many soups, stews, or breads.

Carving up a pie pumpkin is lots of fun and you can use the entire thing, or you can buy canned pumpkin to use- no shame in that!

When choosing a pumpkin, do not choose the large carving pumpkins unless you are just carving it up for decoration. The carving pumpkins don’t have much flavor and are too tough, wet, and stringy to use in recipes.
The seeds are fine to roast, however. Rinse and pat dry the seeds and toss with butter and some seasoned salt or cinnamon. Layer seeds on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. These make a great healthy snack with a satisfying crunch.

To use an actual pumpkin in cooking or baking, be sure to get a little sugar pie pumpkin, around 2-4 pounds. Pierce it a few times and microwave it before halving it carefully, scoop out the seeds, then place it cut side down on a glass baking sheet with edges. After 40 minutes at 350 degrees, cut into chunks away from the outside skin and let cool. Then puree the pumpkin or freeze for your baking needs.

Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup

I’ve been making pumpkin soup for a long time now after seeing a recipe on All Recipes in 2001. Now there are many variations, and I have changed up the original to suit my tastes.

For the soup, sauté a chopped onion in a tablespoon of butter, then add to a saucepan. Combine 4 cups of pumpkin (or two cans) with a can of chicken or vegetable stock and heat on the stove, and stir. Add a teaspoon of seasoned salt and pepper, and a dash of allspice. Let it simmer for 45 minutes.

You can get really creative and serve the soup in hollowed out pie pumpkins! Stir in a teaspoon of heavy cream and garnish with chopped up chives, sage, or bacon bits.



Pumpkin Smoothie

Another recipe that I adore is the Pumpkin Smoothie. I love to make smoothies and add all kinds of things to mine. No need to buy smoothie mixes- you can use lots of things you currently have in your pantry.
I like to add:
Ice Cubes
Frozen Banana
Almond or Coconut milk (or soy or regular)
Frozen berries of any kind
Protein powder (if you have it)
Dash of cinnamon
Bee pollen
Dash of coconut oil

A pumpkin pie smoothie is fun! Combine in blender an ice cube or two, frozen banana, teaspoon coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of real pumpkin, cup of almond or whatever milk you prefer, a dash of cinnamon and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkins used in cooking

Pumpkins used in cooking

How about in other ways in other recipes? One such recipe I saw on Facebook was to combine a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, but 100{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} pumpkin) and a box of vanilla cake mix. I did this, added some walnuts and pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, and made delicious breakfast muffins.

Now, doesn’t it feel like Fall?

Pumpkin can be used in many ways- so enjoy! What ways do you enjoy your pumpkin?
Christine Tarlecki