Hi Friends, Happy Saturday!
You are either for or against pumpkin season. Yes, pumpkin season! You know – Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Pumpkin season! 5 seasons in the year.
Last week on the blog, I posted Fall pillow covers to get you into the Fall spirit.
Today, continuing the Fall/Pumpkin theme, I am going to give some tips, or facts, if you will, for all things pumpkin!
So stick around to see if you know one or all of these tidbits or not.
Do you know the basics of pumpkin?
- There is a difference between canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling! Canned pumpkin puree contains 100% pumpkin without any additional spices or flavors. Pumpkin pie is also puréed pumpkin but is also sweetened and flavored with spices traditionally found in pumpkin pie: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and/or nutmeg.
- Cooking Pumpkins are not the same as carving pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns: Cooking pumpkins are smaller in shape than carving pumpkins and can be found in your grocery store or at a farmer’s stand/market. The flesh is sweeter and less stringy. When choosing pumpkins for cooking, look for firm, solid fruits without cracks, blemishes, bruises or soft spots. Be sure to wash your pumpkins when you get home. Cooking pumpkins are ideal for roasting, puréering for pie and cubing for soups and stews.
- There are 3 main ways to cook Pumpkin: Baking: After washing, quarter and remove seeds. Place the pieces, cut side down, in a baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 375°F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Boiling: Wash, quarter, remove seeds and peel. Cut quarters into uniform cubes. Cook in boiling water for 15 to 30 minutes or until tender. If desired, add a small amount of salt to the water. Microwave: Wash, quarter and remove seeds. Place the pieces, cut side down, in a baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap; vent corner. Microwave 20 minutes or until tender, stopping twice to rearrange pieces. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Freeze it – If you have just a small amount of pumpkin purée left, you can put it into ice cube trays and freeze for future pumpkin treats. When frozen, put the cubes into a freezer baggie. If you have a larger amount, put it into a container or freezer baggie and freeze. Frozen pumpkin purée will last for about 6 months. To thaw frozen puree, place it in the fridge overnight, or put the container of purée in a bowl of cold water for 10-15 minutes.
Do You Know How To Eat Pumpkin?
- First, let’s start with some great Pumpkin Pairings.
Pumpkin goes great with dishes such as popcorn balls, apples, apple dumplings, cinnamon-spiced granola, soup, chili, cranberries, cranberry stuffing, pecans, maple glazed chicken and pork, as well as drinks like apple cider!
Flavors that compliment pumpkin are brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla, and the classic warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and sage.
2. Now that we know what foods and flavors go with pumpkin, let’s make a Pumpkin Pie Spice or PPS as I like to call it.
Making your own PPS: This is such a simple spice to make with such a huge impact. In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground ginger, ½ tsp. ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp. ground allspice and ⅛ tsp. ground cloves.
From here you can add PPS to all kinds of sweet and savory dishes. Here are some examples:
- Top coffee or hot chocolate with a little of the spice.
- Mix PPS with sugar and sprinkle onto buttered toast or popcorn.
- Add PPS to pancake, waffle or muffin batters.
- Add to the egg batter of french toast.
- Sprinkle onto sweet potatoes, butternut or acorn squash.
- Add a few spoonfuls to a smoothie or blend it with vanilla ice cream for a pumpkin milkshake.
- Stir into your oatmeal.
- Add it to just about any creamy vegetable soup or chili.
- Make it into a dip by adding PPS to the desired amount of hummus, cream cheese or vanilla Greek yogurt. Serve with sliced apples, crackers or graham crackers.
I hope this post gives you some helpful information about pumpkins and how to use them. I will be back next week with some sweet recipes made with pumpkin!
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