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Topic: Pumpkins

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Subject: Pumpkins
Date Posted: 10/6/2012 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2012
Posts: 66
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As I was running some errands today, I saw a sign up for a "Pumpkin In The Park" festival. This reminded me that it's the pumpkin season. During Halloween, lots of people take pumpkins and turn them into Jack-O-Lanterns. Next month, we get the pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving.

The pumpkin harvest is coming in and the supermarkets are glutted with them. Pumpkins are on sale every week. Fairly good sales too.

And yet, I've never cooked a pumpkin in my life. Not once. The closest I've come is making some pumpkin pies and then I used cans of pumpkin pie filling. Not the same thing.

So, I was wondering. Does anyone cook with pumpkin? If so, what do you do with it?


-- RT

Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 10/6/2012 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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Pumpkin cream cheese muffins
Date Posted: 10/7/2012 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2012
Posts: 66
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Do you have a recipe? Preferably something simple. I've never had too much luck with muffins.

Date Posted: 10/15/2012 3:35 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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To my knowledge, the pumpkins that are sold for carving into jack-o-lanterns are not great for cooking and eating.  If you want to cook a fresh pumpkin, look for sugar pumpkins- they are smaller and also have more flesh, so they are not as hollow.

That said, I use the canned stuff- it's much easier!  My favorite pumpkin recipe is chocolate chip pumpkin bread from Cooking Light- the recipe is here.  I usually make some substitutions though- I use nonfat vanilla yogurt in place of the pudding that the recipe calls for, and I also reduce the sugar and substitute some for honey.  I use about 3/4 cups sugar and 1/2 cup of honey instead.  Also I use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 regular flour, and I tend to favor darker chocolate chips rather than the semi-sweet (I use Ghirardelli dark chips).   I also use the whole bag instead of just the 1 cup in the recipe.

Date Posted: 10/15/2012 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2012
Posts: 66
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Lots of things are good to be eaten that are not always considered. Pumpkin is one of these. The ones sold at the store may not be as sweet as some of the others, but they're still edible.

I've eaten them before although other people cooked it. Once, I had this sort of stew. Normal stuff except that it was baked in the oven inside a hollowed out pumpkin. As it was served, you basically scrapped some of the pumpkin to go with the rest of the stew. It was extremely good although I think it might have been the choice of spices more than the pumpkin itself.

I've also had it in a casserole. Sort of like a sweet potato casserole but with pumpkin. That was at a pot luck dinner that I went to once. The family was growing pumpkins and told anyone that asked about the casserole that it came out of their garden. Although good, it could have done with less marshmellows.

I don't have the recipe for either of these which is a pity.

Date Posted: 10/19/2012 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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You can roast a pumpkin in the oven like any hard winter squash.  I roast mine whole 1-2 hours so it is easier to peel.  Or you can cut it in half, scrape out the seeds (clean them up and toast them) and put it cut side down in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, more for a larger one.  Or you can peel it (not an easy task), remove the seeds, cut it up and boil it, but this method is much harder and adds a lot of water to the pumpkin.   Then mash the pumpkin and use it in any recipe by the cup.  It freezes well too.

Yes, you can eat jack-o-lantern pumpkins, but the taste isn't as good as sugar pumpkins, or sometimes called pie pumpkins.  The skin is thicker on carving pumpkins making it more difficult to process them.

My favorite is still breads and pies, although I made the pumpkin flan one year and it was wonderful.  I also  made Pumpkin Creme Brulee for Thanksgiving dessert one year instead of pie, yum!!

This might not be the exact recipe you were looking for, but maybe it will get you started -  Vegetarian Pumpkin Stew,

Here's one for Beef Stew in a Pumpkin

Pumpkin Recipes from Cooking Light

Pumpkin Recipes at Epicurious

Here are some pumpkin casseroles, maybe one will be like the one you remember - Pumpkin Casseroles



Last Edited on: 10/19/12 9:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/21/2012 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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So far the best pumpkins I've found as far as ease of processing are the "Cinderella" pumpkins.  I cut them in large chunks, boil then remove the skins and puree.  I then can or freeze the mash with some lemon juice (1 tsp per two cups pumpkin).  You can use it in any recipe.  I've also worked up "Jack O Lantern" pumpkins, they have a much paler flesh but taste just fine.  My favorite recipe is either good old fashioned pumpkin bread or chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. 

Date Posted: 10/22/2012 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2012
Posts: 66
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So, basically, you turn the pumpkin into a homemade version of the canned pumpkin. That way, you can use it in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. Smart idea. I'll have to give it a try.

Date Posted: 10/25/2012 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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Just so you know, the USDA claims that home canned pumpkin is "unsafe".  I've done it several times, though and haven't had any trouble.  The trick is adding the extra acid with the lemon juice.  If you have a "high sugar" pumpkin, then you'll need more lemon juice.  I learned how to can pumpkin from an Amish friend of mine.  If you don't can much, I'd suggest the frozen, the mash works the same.  

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 10/28/2012 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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Store pumpkins work well for 'dinner in a pumpkin'. You mix browned ground beef, rice and some veggies and bake in a cleaned out pumpkin. I haven't made it in some time but it's good stuff. And completely versatile, you could use any compatib;e meat or no meat at all, any veg. 

Date Posted: 11/9/2012 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
Posts: 266
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My friend just processed 26 cups of pumpkin from 2 pumpkins she had.  We are planning to do the Spiced Pumpkin bread in a jar.  And I use the Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe to make pumpkin pies of course.  Great recipe and it doesn't depend on the canned pumpkin.  I also make a sweet pumpkin soup that is to die for.  So great on a cold winter day.