By Julie Twiss
Fall is here – along with chilly weather, colorful leaves, and pumpkin-spiced everything. Pumpkin is one few foods that people still recognize as seasonal, though many simply see it as an added flavor or holiday decoration. However, pumpkins are a delicious fall treat that go way beyond your jack-o-lantern or the flavoring in your coffee. Here are a couple of ways to enjoy this quintessential fall vegetable:
When carving your jack-o-lantern, save those seeds! Roasting pumpkin seeds could not be easier and they taste so good. Medium sized pumpkins work best for this, but don’t hesitate to use any size. Separating the seeds from the stringy goo inside the pumpkin is messy and fun – a perfect job for any kids around that want to help. There are many recipes for roasting pumpkin seeds, this one from SimplyRecipes.com(1) is a favorite. Boiling in salt water prior to roasting is the key to getting the best flavor. You can also add some of your favorite spices to the mix, like a little black pepper or cumin to give them an extra special taste.
Replace those cans of pumpkin puree with the real deal in your pies, muffins, and other pumpkin recipes. Roasting a pumpkin is easy and rewarding. You just need a large, sharp knife and the right kind of pumpkin. For this purpose, you will want to select a couple of the smaller “pie” or sugar pumpkins. Be sure to keep the seeds and roast them following the instructions above. Try this Pumpkin Puree(2) method from Alton Brown and give your pumpkin recipes that flavor that doesn’t come in a can.
Half of the fun of cooking and baking with pumpkins is going to get them. Many farms and farmers markets have large selections of pumpkins, squash, and other fall vegetables. Here is where to find them throughout the Cincinnati(3) area.