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All Those Pumpkins!

Posted by: valeriefender on Oct. 13, 2011

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It's here! That glorious time of year where pumpkins and all the tasty recipes and fun things to do with them abound. Have you visited your local pumpkin patch yet? Do you have kids that are begging to go? Perhaps you have already made the annual trek out to the pumpkin patch or have already visited a local grocer that has huge farm crates overflowing with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

Where I live, there are almost as many places to buy pumpkins as there are sizes of them. Everything from haunted pumpkin patches to the corner store with a huge stack of them out front and everything in between. Whatever your family's tradition or desired location to purchase them, pumpkins are everywhere!

In case you hadn't guessed yet, I love fall and all of it's many flavors. Pumpkins are by far, my favorite from the look of them, the carving, the cooking and the seeds inside of them! I love it all.

So, what's your favorite? What do you look forward to most when the pumpkins start appearing at the local farmers market or produce stand? Do you enjoy roasting your own pumpkins, or do you just buy the already cooked in a can variety? I love cooking with freshly roasted pumpkin, but also enjoy the convenience of the canned version as well.

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If you've never roasted your own, it's something everyone should try once. It's simple, and so tasty. All you need is a small pie pumpkin, any pumpkin will do but pie pumpkins are sweetest (sometimes called "sugar pumpkins"). Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and gooey membrane from inside. Don't throw out those seeds though, you'll want them for later.

Once the pumpkins cavity is cleaned out well, place it cut side down in a shallow baking dish that has been lightly greased. Cover with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 90 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool completely and then scoop out the flesh, you can then simply mash it or puree it in a food processor or blender. It's ready for the pumpkin recipe you've been craving.

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So many tasty options are out there for pumpkins, from roasted pumpkin to pumpkin cookies. Don't forget about pancakes and even fudge if you can believe it.

Pumpkin does not always have to be a sweet treat, it can be made quite savory. Try peeling and dicing a small pumpkin to add it to risotto, much like the Sweet Potato Risotto on Gling. Use as much or as little pumpkin as you'd like. Adding a bit of it to a beef or pork stew is also a tasty change from the ordinary.

Another tasty idea for roasting pumpkins is to treat them much like you would an acorn squash, with a bit of butter and brown sugar. Roast it and then scoop it out to serve. There are so many ways to enjoy this amazing squash, from the most simple, to more involved recipes. It's no wonder it's a favorite!

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Let's not forget about those tasty seeds! For my kids, that is one of the best parts of carving pumpkins. They make a great snack on their own, or serve as a great topping to salad especially Savory Garlic Pumpkin Seeds or Hot & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds. We've even added them as a topping or garnish for tomato soup.

As you can see, there are so many tasty options for pumpkin this fall. So many, in fact, you could almost enjoy pumpkin every day of the fall season and never get tired of seeing it on the menu. Either roast your own or buy it in a can, just make sure you take the time to enjoy this wonderful flavor of fall!

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