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More Than Pumpkin Pie

It is the peak of pumpkin harvest time and though pumpkins are not generally one of the more popular cooked squashes, don't be so quick to turn it away in the kitchen.

It is the peak of pumpkin harvest time and though pumpkins are not generally one of the more popular cooked squashes, don't be so quick to turn it away in the kitchen. While Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins are abundant this time of year, if you are looking to use pumpkin for cooking, you should choose a type that is specifically grown for baking and eating quality.

Best Cooking Pumpkin
The sugar pumpkin - small in size, usually weighing 1.4 to 3.5 pounds

How to Purchase
Make sure the pumpkin is bright in color, free of blemishes and solid/dense for its size.

Pumpkins may be stored at room temperature for up to a month and in the refrigerator for 3 months.

How to Use
Pumpkins may be used the same as any other winter squash.

Fresh pumpkin: 5 pound pumpkin is equal to about 4.5 cups cooked and mashed
Canned pumpkin: a 15 ounce can is equal to 1.75 cups mashed

Pumpkin Recipes:

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

1 small to medium pumpkin
1 quart cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 15 ounce can pumpkin

Cut top of pumpkin (remove and save lid) scoop out all of the stringy contents and seeds and discard. Scrape out as much pumpkin as possible being careful not to break pumpkin shell or make any holes in it. When you have removed all of the pulp that you can, place the pulp in a pan and cook until soft with 1/2 cup of water over medium heat. When the pulp is soft cool a little and place in food processor and pulse until creamy. Grind cloves in chopper until pretty fine and combine with other spices. Place all ingredients except cream in large pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes. If you need to, add a little water, 1/2 cup, to keep from sticking, be sure it doesn't scorch. Add cream and blend well, reduce heat to low and let cook about 10 more minutes. Pour soup into pumpkin shell, replace lid and serve.

Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.

Makes about 8-10.


Spicy Pumpkin Dip

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons tahini, sesame paste
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a food processor, process pumpkin and chickpeas until fairly smooth. Add remaining ingredients to food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste. Serve with pita chips.

Makes 3 cups.


Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (well rounded teaspoon)
1 teaspoons nutmeg
2 1/2 cups sugar
Sift or stir all the above.

1 cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray; set aside. Mix just until creamy. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.


Pumpkin Bars

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 16-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting

In bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a mixer bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil. Add flour mixture; beat well. Stir in pecans. Spread in ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat together a 3 ounce package cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar, beating until smooth. Frost bars and sprinkle with additional pecans.

Makes 2 dozen bars.


Pumpkin Surprise

Mix together:
1 large can of pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place in ungreased 9 x 13" baking pan.

Sprinkle over top:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 cubes melted margarine (real butter is even better!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool completely before serving. Good by itself or with ice cream.


Pumpkin with Rice Stuffing

1 5 or 6 lb.pumpkin (make sure their is a stem)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion (to yield 1/2 cup) -- chopped
1 medium celery stalk (to yield 1/2 cup) -- sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1/4 cup raisins or currants
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 slices whole wheat bread -- cut into cubes
1 cup apple cider

Heat oven to 375. Cut out lid from top of pumpkin. Remove seeds and fibers from pumpkin. Melt butter in a 10" skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and celery in butter, stirring occasionally until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except cider. Fill pumpkin with rice mixture. Pour cider over rice mixture. Cover with pumpkin lid. Place pumpkin in ungreased 8 x 8" pan. Bake for about 2 hours or until pumpkin is tender. Let stand 15 minutes. To serve, remove lid and cut pumpkin into wedges.

Serves 6.

Helpful Source: The New Food Lover's Tiptionary: More Than 6,000 Food and Drink Tips, Secrets, Shortcuts, and Other Things Cookbooks Never Tell You by Sharon Tyler Herbst

Cindy Sanchez is the owner and editor of . Sign up for our Practical Recipes Newsletter for delivery of many savory recipes to your mailbox each week mailto:[email protected]

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