Pumpkin Recipes and Growing Tips

Plant your own patch and incorporate nutritious, colorful pumpkin into hearty dishes.

| Fall 2017

  • Try growing pumpkins near a compost pile, and enjoy an abundant harvest.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Geargodz
  • Pumpkin cultivars come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. See "Pumpkin Cultivars for Culinary Use" later in this article for recommendations.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Valbunny
  • Pumpkins have been cultivated for about 9,000 years and have been valued for their nutrition and adaptability.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Marek
  • Pumpkins and squash are found in cuisines across the world.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Fahrwasser
  • Plant pumpkin seeds into prepared beds in late spring, in a sunny area with well-drained soil.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Smolaw

This excerpt from The Pumpkin Cookbook is used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) grow in all climates across the United States. In fact, they’re found on every continent except Antarctica. They’ve long been prized for their nutrition, adaptability, and staying power. Their sturdy outer skin allows them to be stored in a cool place for months. Native to North America, pumpkins have been cultivated for about 9,000 years and have been a mainstay of indigenous peoples’ diets. Pumpkin offers protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, and large amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). It’s high in fiber and low in calories. For sustenance, pumpkin is hard to beat.

Because pumpkin has been around for so long, and because it’s found in cuisines across the globe, it unsurprisingly shows up in appetizers, soups, breads, desserts, salads, and savory dishes of all kinds. It offers much more than the annual slice of pie at Thanksgiving. The mild, slightly sweet flavor complements numerous ingredients. I’ve experimented with adding pumpkin to my old favorite recipes, thinking up new combinations, and adapting ideas from other cultures. In some dishes, the pumpkin flavor might be too subtle to detect when used with strong, savory ingredients, but it always adds lovely color, valuable nutrition, and smooth texture.

Roasted Pumpkin Parmesan Polenta Recipe

Lamb Kebabs with Red Peppers, Onions, and Pumpkin Recipe

Spicy Beef Stew in a Pumpkin Shell

Pumpkin Cultivars for Culinary Use

Pie pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are small with thick flesh and few strings. They’re good for shorter seasons because fruits continue to ripen as they cure. Pie pumpkins are the best cooking pumpkins.

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