5 Ways to Use Fresh Pumpkin
It’s time for the seasonal family trip to your local pumpkin patch. Drive east to Brentwood and visit Enos Farm or Smith Family Farm; take a day trip to the famous pumpkin patch at Swank Farm in Hollister and hitch a ride on a hay cart; or pile in the car and head west to Half Moon Bay for the Pumpkin Festival in mid-October. There’s nothing more fun than wandering through a field of handsome pumpkins, just waiting to be made into scary jack o’ lanterns or cooked into a fresh loaf of pumpkin bread! And there’s nothing more rewarding than cooking with fresh pumpkin – the taste is unbelievably better than canned pumpkin. So forget the cans and make your own fresh and delicious pumpkin purée. It takes a little more time but it’s easy and the kids will enjoy the process.
Cooking with Fresh Pumpkin A medium-sized (4-pound) sugar pumpkin should yield around 1-1/2 cups of mashed pumpkin. This purée can be used in all your recipes calling for canned pumpkin. And while pumpkins are in season, you can bake several pumpkins, purée them, and freeze in containers for later in the season when you get a hankering for pumpkin bread or cookies. Cut pumpkin and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet until softened. Scoop out flesh and puree - simple as that!
- Pumpkin Bread - choose a favorite family recipe. Add raisins and nuts for texture.
- Pumpkin Muffins - a great way to enjoy the season with your coffee in the morning - it's full of antioxidants, too.
- Pumpkin Soup - Cook pumpkin puree with a bit of vegetable stock, onion, curry powder, salt, pepper, and puree - delish!
- Pumpkin Pancakes - add pumpkin puree to your pancake mix.
- Roasted Pumpkin - Cube slightly cooked pumpkin, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, place on foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.