Pumpkin season is here and while many consider pumpkins a necessary part of their fall decorating, pumpkins are so much more than that! Don’t settle for the occasional pumpkin-spice-flavored treat. Make pumpkins the star of your kitchen. The flavor lends itself to both sweet and savory pumpkin recipes so cooking with pumpkin offers a wide variety of meals. Plus, canning pumpkin is safe, so you can stock up when farmers slash the price of their pumpkins. Pumpkin is a nutrient-dense food, packed with beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and E, but the most compelling reason to cook with pumpkin is the taste.
Canning pumpkin is safe and simple, but there are a few rules you must follow. First, pumpkin must be preserved using a pressure canner. Water bath canning will not suffice. Second, you will be canning pumpkin to be used as an ingredient. Home cooks should not attempt to can pumpkin puree or pie filling. Preserve cubed pumpkin using a pressure canner and you will have it on hand when you are ready to cook.
The first thing you need to do is turn your pumpkin into pumpkin puree. If you are using your canned pumpkin cubes, simply mash them with a fork until smooth or process in a blender. If you are starting with a whole pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until it is soft. Scoop the flesh out and process in a blender.
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 11/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
In a large stockpot, saute potato, onion, and garlic until onion is transparent. Add pumpkin puree and cook until puree is warmed through. Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until potato cubes can be easily pierced with a fork.
Transfer soup in small batches to a blender and puree until smooth. When all soup has been pureed, return to stockpot and bring back up to a simmer. Add the whipping cream and stir until it is completely incorporated. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
If you love food that is packed with flavor, curry is definitely something you should try. This recipe serves four.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (plus more for roasting vegetables)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
- 1 cup cubed pumpkin
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 Tablespoons red curry sauce
- 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 14 ounce full-fat coconut milk
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Put pumpkin, carrots, and red peppers in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and cook for 20 minutes.
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat and saute the garlic and ginger for two minutes, stirring constantly so it does not burn.
Add the roasted vegetables to the skillet and saute for five minutes.
Add spinach, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, curry paste and red pepper flakes. Simmer 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.
Pumpkin for Breakfast! Oatmeal Casserole
Yes, pumpkin is the perfect way to start the day off right. If you really want to start the day with a bang, drizzle your serving with maple syrup or top it with a dollop of whipped cream. This recipe makes four large servings. This can be baked the night before and heated up in the morning.
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup raisins or craisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, seasonings, and vanilla. Add milk.
Stir in the oats and the raisins, if using. Pour mixture into the pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Pumpkin Hand Pies
Now that we have our main meals taken care of, it’s time to move on to desserts. Pumpkin pie is a holiday staple, but can be quite messy if you have a houseful of young children. Hand-held pies are easy to serve and easy for the smallest hands to hold.
- 1 homemade pie crust or 2 packaged crusts
- 2 cups pumpkin pie filling (homemade or store-bought)
- Vegetable oil or lard
Roll out the piecrust and cut as many 5” rounds out of the crust as you can. You should have about 26 rounds.
Add a large tablespoon of pumpkin pie filling in the center of the round and fold into a half-moon shape.
Wet the edges of the crust to help seal and crimp with a fork.
Heat 3” of oil in a large pot to 375 degrees. Fry hand pies, two at a time, until golden brown. Let drain on a paper towel-covered rack. While still warm, generously sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, or coat with icing when cool.
Chocolate Pumpkin Bark
Making bark is fun to do with children and it is a great gift to give. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, making it easy for you to get your treat bags ready for friends and family.
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 14 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 8 ounces white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup dried cranberries or dried blueberries
- ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice.
Melt chocolates in separate bowls.
Stir the pumpkin puree into the melted white chocolate.
Spread a thick layer of dark chocolate over parchment paper. Swirl in the white chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with dried fruit and chopped nuts.
Place in the refrigerator for twenty minutes to harden before breaking into pieces. Serve at room temperature.
These are just a few of the hundreds of ways you can incorporate pumpkin into your diet. Bring your pumpkins in from the front porch this season and give them a place of honor at your dining room table.
If you think these recipes sound good, check out the original “Pumpkin Palooza: Sweet & Savory Pumpkin Recipes to Try This Fall“