Chef Kelly Unger
I'm in love with Pumpkin
By now you have had your front porch and home decorated for at least a month with Fall’s favorite beauty - the pumpkin. To remind you, all pumpkins are Winter Squash and we usually refer to the round orange Winter squash as pumpkin. Pumpkins are one of my favorite subjects to talk about. There are so many beautiful and delicious varieties to try. Some varieties are good for eating and some are just bred and grown for decoration. Here's a link to check out a very long list of pumpkin varieties - Pumpkin Variety Masterlist - by pumpkinpatchesandmore.org. They do designate which pumpkins are best for eating and which ones are bred just for decoration. For example: Black Futsu, a variety I discovered this season through my CSA at Spring Creek Farm, is relatively small in size, a dusky, taupey orange with lots of ribs or pleats, a very thin skin, a somewhat floral aroma and excellent for eating. They had some last week and may still have some this week. Blaze is another one I just discovered at Maximuck Farm, right around the corner from my house, this year. It’s a large almost ombre pattern of yellow bleeding to orange. It’s beautiful but this variety is bred for decor.
Making your own pumpkin puree may seem like a lot of work. It’s not AND the flavor and health payoff is so worth every minute of your time. Pumpkins are loaded with vitamins and minerals, are low in sugar and high in fiber. Pumpkin’s vitamins and minerals help protect your immunity, eye, skin, and heart health, as well as your metabolic health. Pumpkin’s orange color tells you it is loaded with beta-carotene.
If you want to make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice, here are the ratios to use, but always feel free to increase or decrease amounts to your taste;
pumpkin pie spice ratios - yields 6 Tablespoons
3 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves And, here is the link to a recipe collection from Epicurious.
Epicurious - 61 Pumpkin Recipes
Finally, when the season is over and you're ready to decorate for Christmas, don’t throw your pumpkins in the trash. Instead, take them outside to a place where you see deer or other wildlife and throw the pumpkins on the ground hard to break them open so the deer and friends can enjoy them. Return the pumpkins to nature! You can also take them over to farm animal rescue places for the pigs and donkeys to eat too.