Fall is here again, and with it come all our favorite cooler-weather staples: apples, hot drinks, and the pumpkin: that mysterious gourd that captures our collective imagination every year.
What is it that makes the pumpkin so alluring to us? Why will we line up, even when it’s still 80 degrees out, for a fat-and-sugar-loaded pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks? Why are we unable to keep ourselves from ordering that pumpkin beer that every bar suddenly has on draft starting around late August?
Whatever the reason, the pumpkin has always formed associations with all things magical, warming, and, well, autumnal. As kids, we watched Charlie Brown wait up all night for the Great Pumpkin to arrive and Cinderella hitch a ride to the ball in an overgrown gourd-on-wheels. We frolicked in pumpkin patches and delighted in getting our hands dirty as we pulled the seeds and pulp out of our jack-o-lanterns.
But now, as we’ve grown older and fallen in love with the kitchen (with its own unique brand of magic), we have a new list of reasons to get excited about the harvest season. Here’s part 1 of our favorite pumpkin recipes, which we hope will inspire you to grab a gourd today:
Perhaps the least-appreciated edible part of the pumpkin, the seeds are packed with nutrition and make a delicious snack for kids and adults alike. Serious Eats has an excellent recipe for roasting them with different flavor combinations, showing off the amazing versatility of our orange friends.
We all know pumpkins taste amazing, but they also make excellent centerpieces and, in this case, serving vessels. Try following the lead of the folks over at Good Housekeeping, who recommend using it to ladle out apple cider at your next harvest party (…people have those, right?)
America Cooks With Chefs is all about making food healthier, but we’re all allowed to indulge – just make it count when you do! Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen has a great idea for doing just that, with pumpkin cinnamon rolls that look as good as they taste.
In the future, when Starbucks has become our coffee overlord, we will ring in the autumn season with ritualistic trips to the corner for our first PSL of the year. Until then, though, we can rebel by making it ourselves, using The Kitchn’s painstakingly-researched copy.
In the dead of summer, it’s hard to imagine turning on the oven for any reason, much less breaking out a blowtorch to put the finishing touches on anything. As the temperature drops, though, we can leave these hangups behind and embrace the warmth of pie, that dessert that whisks all of us back to youth in Mom’s kitchen. Check out Bon Appetit’s bourbon-soaked, torch-finished take on the classic pumpkin pie.
Perfect for those of us with newborns and infants, homemade pumpkin puree far surpasses anything you can get out of a can. Parents.com has the perfect recipe to make the task easy and fun.
Pumpkin pie, cinnamon rolls, cream-laden lattes – our list so far has taken advantage of pumpkin’s heavier aspects. Lighten it up with the Barefoot Contessa’s airy pumpkin mousse layered with whipped cream, which carries amazing pumpkin flavor without resigning you to the couch afterward.
Remember, pumpkin is first and foremost a vegetable, and should be used often in savory applications. In this clip from Jamie At Home, Jamie Oliver shows us his take on succulent, tender roasted pumpkin with duck, as perfect an expression of fall cooking as ever there was.