When I think of fall (or “Autumn”), three things come to mind (before anything else):
- Cooler temperatures
- Changing leaves
What is fall without pumpkins? Halloween isn’t Halloween without Jack-O-Lanterns, and Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. However, pumpkin doesn’t get a lot of credit in the ways-to-use department. Contrary to conventional wisdom, pumpkin can be used in a large variety of dishes, sweet and savory.
Show me the pumpkin!
Some of my favorite ways to use pumpkin – differently:
Note: I have not tested any of these out–except for the pumpkin oatmeal and the latté–due to my current lack-of-kitchen situation, so my opinions are based on what I’ve read and my personal tastes.
“Emily’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili in Pumpkin Bowls” as seen on Oh She Glows : Personally, the idea of eating out of a pumpkin makes me giddy inside. This recipe seems like a great addition to a fall dinner or even Thanksgiving feast. And how doesn’t love a nice hold soup (or chili) on a cold fall evening.
Pumpkin Oatmeal: As seen on many blogs, including Kath Eats Real Food (example). There are so many variations on this, from savory oats to more sweet, pumpkin-pie varieties. This dish is generally made with canned pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling). It all depends on what else you put in and on the oatmeal. Along with a distinct flavor (which I cannot describe due to lack of practice making and eating it), pumpkin adds extra smoothness to the oatmeal and extra vitamins.
“Pumpkin Waffles“: Working Class Foodies has a YouTube how-to recipe video for these special waffles that are sure to spice up your Sunday brunch (or any other time you’re in the mood for something sweet and different for breakfast).
Pumpkin Ale: I can’t wait until I’m legal to try this type of beer. I’ve heard good things about it on the blog-o-sphere (aka on other blogs).
Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks: I tried this for the first time a few weeks ago, and boy! was it amazing! Neither the espresso nor the pumpkin overpower the other, but together, they bring out the best in one another. There is a distinct pumpkin taste (sort of like pumpkin pie), but it is not too strong. It’s creamy, smooth, and sweet. This is the perfect drink for a cold (and rainy) fall (or winter) evening… Tip 1: If you aren’t a fan of sugary/sweet drinks (or are trying to be healthier), ask for only one or two pumps of the pumpkin spice when you order. This way, you’ll still get the pumpkin taste, but without all the extra sugar or sweetness… Tip 2: Too expensive for frequent drinking? Too cold to go out (and buy the drink)? Try this recipe from “The Kitchn” to make it at home.
Along with its delicious flavor, pumpkin also has a lot of nutritional benefits. According to a AC article called “The Health Benefits of Pumpkin” by Peggy Adamik, these are a few of their benefits…
- Very high in carotenoids (vitamin A & support the immune system), which also give pumpkins their orange color
- High in (other) antioxidants
- High iron, zinc, and fiber (their benefits are listed in the article if you aren’t already familiar with them)
- Pumpkin seeds are high in protein (one ounce of seeds provides about seven grams of protein) and other essential vitamins
- Pumpkin seed oils are high in essential fatty acids and essential vitamins (like A and E)
A few weeks ago, as I was walking home (aka my dorm) from class, I passed by my school’s farmer’s market. I reminisced to when I used to go to my hometown’s local farmer’s market every Saturday with my mom, a family friend, and that friend’s daughter (who was also my friend). (Sorry if that confused you.) As soon as pumpkins would come available, I’d always buy one (or two), along with other fall-y items like multicolored corn and other gourds. So, as soon as I saw the pumpkins at my school’s farmer’s market, I *buy* to buy one. The best $4 I ever spent. I walked home with my prized possession and, when I arrived, I put it on top of my microwave (part of my room’s rented MicroFridge)… But apparently not everyone shares my love for pumpkins. My roommates were a bit confused as to why I had bought a pumpkin and brought it into our room… But I love my roommates anyway. =)
Question of the post: What is your favorite dish or use for pumpkins?
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