Cook This Now: Pumpkins

By Liz A. Tue, December 15, 2015

by Peggy Paul Casella for Fair Food

In light of the pumpkin bounty from Stepped in What Vegetables—a whopping eleven different varieties!—now seems as good a time as ever to brush up on the culinary uses of these fall/winter cucurbits. Did you know, for instance, that Hubbard Squash and Cheese Pumpkins make tastier, richer pies than the standard so-called "pie pumpkins" do? Or that pumpkin purée can be used in place of eggs and oil in baking? How about savory recipes? Have you tried adding cubed pumpkin to chili, or stuffing and roasting one for an impressive main dish? 

Whether you're planning to make just one pie or a season's worth of recipes, here are some tips and tricks for cooking with these incredibly versatile vegetables:

To Make Pumpkin Purée: Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray 2 baking sheets lightly with cooking spray. Hack the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut the pumpkin into manageable wedges (about 2 to 3 inches thick). Place the pumpkin wedges on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, until the flesh is tender and the skin is easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the pumpkin from the oven. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Then transfer the purée to a colander or fine-mesh sieve, set a plate directly on top of the purée to weigh it down, and let it drain over a bowl for at least 45 minutes, until the purée is as thick as custard. Reserve the pumpkin juice to use in place of water in other recipes.

For pies and other baked goods:
Try Hubbard Squash, Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironside, Fairytale/Musque de Provence, Cinderella, and Porcelain Doll.

For soups, stews, and casseroles:
Try Turban Squash, Fairytale/Musque de Provence, Cinderella, Peanut, and Porcelain Doll.

For stuffing:
Try Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Fairytale/Musque de Provence, Cinderella, and Porcelain Doll.

For roasting, pastas, and pizzas:
Try Turban Squash, Hubbard Squash, Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Peanut Pumpkins, Fairytale/ Musque de Provence, and Porcelain Doll. 

For smoothies, juices, and parfaits:
Try Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Peanut Pumpkins, and Porcelain Doll.

For decoration and Jack O' Lanterns:
Try Baby Boos, Jack be Littles, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Cinderella Pumpkins, Field Trip, and Porcelain Doll. 

Click here and here and here for some inspiration!

Cook This Now is presented in partnership with Fair Food and The Food Trust’s Farmers’ Market Program.

Fair Food works to support sustainable agriculture in the Delaware Valley region through its all-local grocery store, the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market; the Double Dollars program, which provides up to an additional $10 a week for SNAP recipients to spend on local food at the Farmstand; the Philly Farm & Food Fest, our annual local foods expo; and the annual Philadelphia Local Food Guide. Get in touch at info@fairfoodphilly.org.

The Food Trust, in partnership with Get Healthy Philly, operates more than 25 farmers' markets in Philadelphia, including Clark Park Farmers' Market, Philly's oldest year-round market, and Headhouse Farmers' Market, the city's largest outdoor market. Many of The Food Trust's farmers' markets are located in neighborhoods that otherwise lack access to healthy foods and accept SNAP (food stamp) benefits and Philly Food Bucks to make fruits and vegetables affordable to everyone.

Click here for a complete list of Philadelphia farmers' markets that accept Philly Food Bucks.

Piles of pumpkins!
Piles of pumpkins!
Enormous pumpkins!
Enormous pumpkins!
Turban pumpkin
Turban pumpkin

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