Pumpkins - not just for pies and front stoops anymore

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Pumpkins - not just for pies and front stoops anymore

Pumpkin Musquee de Provence: Shaped like a wheel of cheese with a tan outside and a deep red-orange inside, the French variety Musquee de Provence

The humble pumpkin at one time was known for being just two things - a front porch decoration and a pie. Also, unless you lived in Pennsylvania Dutch country like I did as a kid and saw “neck pumpkins,” pumpkins were always orange and round.

However, if you get into gardening and look at seed catalogs, you know that pumpkins come in all sizes and colors. Some examples:

  • The old-fashioned traditional look of the Connecticut Field Pumpkin, an old jack-o-lantern favorite.
  • The Cinderella’s carriage shape and red-orange color of the Rouge Vif d’Etampes, a French variety.
  • The what’s-wrong-with-that-thing warty look of the Galeuse d’Eysines, another French variety that is delicious in soups.
  • The black color and delicious taste of the Thai, yes, Thai Large Pumpkin.
  • And my personal favorite, the afore-mentioned Amish neck pumpkin, which as any Amish baker will tell you is superior to others for pies, cakes, and other baking. It gets its name due to looking like a stretched out butternut squash.

Pumpkins are not just for pies and a quick search on the Internet on pumpkin recipes will land you a variety of ideas from non-pie desserts to soups to main courses. I didn’t get as many this year as I have in the past in my garden, but with the amount of pumpkins I normally harvest, I usually am looking for unique pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin neck: An immature Amish neck pumpkin on the vine.

I enjoy making soups out of them, making casseroles, and pumpkin chili. What? Pumpkin chili?

Yes, that’s right, pumpkin chili. It’s a delicious twist on the usual chili, and quite easy to make - all you need to do is add one to two cups unsweetened pumpkin puree, either from your garden or via a can, to your standard chili recipe. The pumpkin adds a slight sweet flavor and very nice texture that is quite good.

In fact, nothing beats a football game and a bowl of pumpkin chili on a fall day.

Tags: pumpkins | fall |

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA


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