Tips & Recipes for Cooking With Fresh Pumpkin This Season
’Tis the season for pumpkin spice! What started out as a seasonal addition to coffees and baked goods has now become the trending flavor for all types of foods. We’ve seen pumpkin spice breakfast cereals, pumpkin spice almonds, pumpkin spice pudding, and even pumpkin spice SPAM. Beyond the food aisles, pumpkin spice flavoring and scent has been added to deodorant, body lotion, and even dog treats!
Looking past the pumpkin spice craze, pumpkin truly is a classic fall flavor that you can introduce into desserts, side dishes, and fall comfort foods. If you’re ready to get cooking with fresh pumpkin or pumpkin puree this fall, browse some of the delicious ideas we’ve collected below.
Selecting & Cooking Fresh Pumpkins
The large pumpkins you select for carving jack o’ lanterns and fall decorating are edible. However, they tend to be stringy and watery, and have little flavor. Leave those pumpkins on the porch and look for pumpkin varieties that are better suited for cooking and baking. In your local stores, you may see them advertised as sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. You can also look for their varietal names, which include New England pie pumpkin, autumn gold, baby pam, or Dickinson.
Here are simple directions for cooking pumpkin in the oven:
- Remove the stem and cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the strings and seeds from each half.
- Spray the two halves with cooking spray and put them upside down in a baking dish.
- Bake at 350º F for 60-90 minutes based on the size of your pumpkin. The flesh should be very soft.
- You can then scrape out or cut out pieces of the pumpkin.
Making Your Own Pumpkin Puree
When cooking with pumpkin puree, has your go-to always been grabbing a can of pre-made puree? If so, you might try to make your own pumpkin puree this season.
- Follow the roasting directions above.
- Remove the flesh and run it through a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Add your favorite fall spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or brown sugar to create a taste you love.
- For reference, one pound of pumpkin can yield one cup of puree.
Fresh Pumpkin & Pumpkin Puree Recipes to Try
Pumpkin Baked Goods
Pumpkin baked goods and desserts are incredibly popular as the fall season approaches and stay in high demand throughout the holiday season. Everyone loves a classic pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, or pumpkin cheesecake, but there are other ideas to try.
Pumpkin Soups and Sides
Pumpkin is also a popular ingredient for cold-weather soups and sides. It’s great when paired with other winter squashes, or you can use it as a substitute when a recipe calls for squash.
Pumpkin Main Dishes
Fall weather calls for comfort foods; those classic meals that warm you and fill you up. Add a twist to some of your favorite traditional fall meals by cooking them with fresh pumpkin.