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Pumpkins Beyond the Jack-O-Lantern

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We've already addressed the whole Pumpkin Spice Latte craze, but have you ever eaten an actual pumpkin in non-pie form?

They are actually quite delicious, with earthy and sweet notes like most squash. The key is finding the right kind for the right use. Some are great in pies, while others are great roasted and eaten as is or pureed into a soup. Just make sure to leave the jack-o-lanterns for the squirrels to enjoy, because carving pumpkins are bred to stand up to being hacked at with a knife....they're harder and have stiffer skins than eating pumpkins.

All About Pumpkins has an interesting breakdown of what are known as sugar pumpkins (which I am SO using as a nickname for my kids now) or pie pumpkins. While most stores have some small, glossy-skinned beauties that are just labeled as pie pumpkins, if you look you can find some really cool ones....Cinderella pumpkins! Cheese pumpkins! Pink Banana pumpkins! There is even a kind called Red Warty Thing, which is just about perfect for Halloween. 

You roast them just like you would an acorn squash: Crank up your oven to 425 degrees, hack your pumpkin into quarters, scoop out the seeds, rub a little olive oil on the pieces and season them with a little salt and pepper. Cook them until they are soft. If you're eating the roast pumpkin as is, this is a great time to experiment with spices. Nutmeg and allspice are classic, but try Chinese five-spice powder, smoked paprika, or even curry (pumpkin curry is actually a classic Indian preparation). Or, get ready to puree it into soup.

Of course, you can just buy cans of it. Just don't buy pumpkin pie filling for any savory application...stick with the stuff that says "pure pumpkin." The Kitchn did a roundup of pumpkin soup recipes, everything from a spicy Southwest one to a sweet one with apples.

It's a good nutritional bargain, too...only 30 calories per cup raw, and it packs 171 percent of your daily needs for Vitamin A.

Have you tried pumpkin in a savory, not sweet, dish? What's your favorite?

Image ŠIStockPhoto/Ifistand

by on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-28):
by on Oct. 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Those sound like a good idea and yummy!  I've never done that before.

by Bronze Member on Oct. 17, 2013 at 11:12 AM

I use sugar pumpkins for carving and I have made chili with pumpkin puree instead of beans before. It was interesting...

by Bronze Member on Oct. 17, 2013 at 12:17 PM

The only thing I have made with them is pie and cookies.

by on Oct. 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM

i like pumpkin but havent done this...sounds nice tho :)

by Member on Oct. 17, 2013 at 1:37 PM

I have only used canned pumpkin in muffins, cookies, pies and I have cake-like receipe. 

by on Oct. 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Just Pumpkin Cheesecake

by on Oct. 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM
I grow pumpkins as well as a big garden and this time of year is my absolute favorite!!! I make alot of pumpkin soups. Right now i am obsessed with pumkpin ginger curry soup with leeks, carrots and potatoes!! I also make cakes, cookies, and ravioli with it. I positively ADORE pumpkin!! :)
by on Oct. 18, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Nice info...Thanks for sharing!

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