It’s finally here, the month of Pumpkober! For those who may not know, Pumpkober was formally known as the month of October until people just got tired of talking about pumpkin in October and combined the two words for the sake of efficiency. It’s that time of year where pumpkin flavored everything is hitting the shelves of our grocery stores, coffee shops, and bakeries. But what happens if you’re home in your pajamas and don’t feel like going out in public? Don’t panic. We’ve got your pumpkin fix fixed up with these ideas on how to make the most of everyone’s favorite fall flavor.
The Good, the Bad, and the Boo-tiful
Sure, we’re all fans of reuse and recycle, but if you plan to use your jack-o-lantern as part of a pumpkin recipe, you will need to revisit that idea. Large pumpkins are perfect for boo-tifying your front steps, but they turn out to be frightful for baking or cooking.
When shopping for the best edible pumpkins, you’ll want to look for those specially marked for baking, like “pie pumpkins.” Specific varieties include names as magical as their taste: Fairy Tale, Cinderella, and Ghost Rider are all great cooking varieties. These pumpkins are smaller than the jack-o-lantern sort, usually weighing in between four and seven pounds.
Wake Up, Pumpkin
Yes, we know all about pumpkin spice flavored coffee and lattes. But did you know you can eat your pumpkin and drink it too? Recipes abound for breakfast options, many of which can be prepared the night before so that you can wake up on the sunny, orange side of the morning.
If you’re the sort who likes carb-focused breakfast items, consider making pumpkin muffins, scones, waffles, or pancakes. Heck, you can even make pumpkin crepes. If you don’t want to give up your eggs, or if you just want to impress guests, check out this recipe for Eggs in a Mini Pumpkin. If you’re looking for something a little smoother, you can certainly make yourself a pumpkin smoothie or pumpkin shake and be out the door faster than you can say pumpkin.
The midday slump is real. You’ve made it through the morning, and you get a little break for lunch, but you know that afterward you’ll have to face your boss/kids/boss’s kids again and you just need something to make you happy. Let’s consider a pumpkin grilled cheese sandwich. Yes. To prepare this sandwich, use high-quality bread, something like challah or pumpernickel. Butter the outside of the slices and layer the inside with an aromatic cheese like sharp cheddar or Gruyere. Add a thick slather of pumpkin puree and then grill using your favorite method.
If you have your thermos ready, you can cook up a big batch of pumpkin soup. Bring toasted pine nuts and shredded Gruyere to sprinkle on top of the soup when you’re ready to eat for added fancy flair.
Cubed pumpkin can be roasted, grilled, or baked as the main ingredient for any number of delicious entries. The savory flavors of pumpkin pair well with white Northern beans, bacon, mac and cheese, chili, and cauliflower. To serve these delicious meals, take advantage of the harvest colors of the pumpkin and play them up by using white or ivory dishes. Another option is to use the hollowed out pumpkin shells as bowls or just table decorations.
Once you’ve eaten all of the healthy pumpkin meals, you can indulge in a few pumpkin desserts. The most obvious choice is pumpkin pie, and honestly, you can’t go wrong there. But if you’d like to expand your repertoire, you can try your hand at pumpkin cakes, scones, and even pumpkin mousse. The oranges here contrast gorgeously with the dark browns and blacks of chocolate, so it’s really your duty to the beauty of each dessert to include chocolate somehow, someway.