Valley Bounty: Pumpkin
Folklore and fiction are full of pumpkins hovering around the intersection of everyday people and the supernatural: Cinderella’s carriage turns into a pumpkin, the headless horseman of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” wears one where his head would be, and the Irish folk character Stingy Jack, who wanders the Earth with a pumpkin lantern after making a deal with the devil, is part of the origin of the Jack-O’-Lantern. It lives in the odd cultural space that flirts with elements of horror in a playful and unthreatening way, like Scooby Doo and kids’ Halloween costumes. And yet, unlike Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, pumpkins also transition easily from the haunted house to the dinner table.
Make your own fresh pumpkin puree from local pumpkins by slicing them in half, scooping out the seeds, covering the flesh in oil, salt, and pepper, roasting at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, and scooping out the now-soft goodness. I recently got an immersion blender and have been experimenting with pumpkin soup, which can be as simple as simmering pumpkin, stock, and aromatics (like onion, garlic, and herbs) together and blending. A little heavy cream (or yogurt) helps make the soup nice and creamy.
Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)