Valley Bounty, October 12, 2013: Pumpkins

When picking a pumpkin, some people look for the most unusual one: white, or knobby, or flattened, while others search out round orange perfection. If you want to cook your pumpkin, ignore its looks and find one labeled “pie” or “sugar.” To make puree, cut the pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp, and roast it, cut side down, until soft. Use it in pie, muffins, or soup—or eat it as is, mashed with roasted garlic, butter, and a little maple syrup.

Find CISA’s list of pumpkin growers here.  Remember that you can change the zip code setting at the bottom to find sources closest to you.

Whether you are roasting a pumpkin to eat or carving one for Halloween, make sure to roast the seeds!  Separate from the stringy pulp, spread on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little kosher salt or a mixture of spices.  I like chili powder and salt, but here are 10 different options.

If you are a brewer and want to make beer with real local pumpkins, not pumpkin flavoring, here are instructions from Valley Malt.


There are lots of recipes for sweet pumpkin desserts, but here are a few for savory pumpkin dishes:

Thai pumpkin soup from local food blogger Meggin Thwing Eastman’s Happy Valley Locavore.

Pumpkin orzo with sage and Pumpkin, potato, and pancetta home fries, both from the food blog Serious Eats.

Preserving Tips

Pumpkins will store well through the fall in a cool (but not cold—50s is good), dry place.  Pumpkins don’t store as long as some other winter squash, like butternut.  If yours are starting to soften, or you don’t have a good place for storing them, roast them and freeze the cooked puree.  More information about storing winter vegetables can be found on CISA’s website here.