Can we talk about how great pumpkins are?
I know, I know, I think everyone is a little Pumpkin Spiced-out. But I’m talking just straight-up pumpkin. Aside from being cool fall decorations and a classic pie, this humble orange squash is one of my favorite foods this time of year.
Everyone loves a good pumpkin pie. However, if you’ve never tried anything else beyond the annual Thanksgiving favorite, you’re missing out.
This favorite fall squash is so versatile; you can put it in about anything.
Here’s a list of some fantastic and delicious ways to use this classic harbinger of fall.
(And because you can’t beat pumpkin pie, I’m going to share my all-time favorite recipe at the end. It will take your pie game to the next level.)
And if you grew your winter squash this year, here’s how to cure and store them so they last through the winter.
First things first, you need pumpkin puree. Making your own is simple to do.
You’ll need to roast your pumpkin. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. For smaller squash like sugar, pie, or cheese pumpkins simply slice them in half. Scoop out the seeds and fibers. Save your seeds to roast and grow next year.
Place the halves cut side down/skin side up on the baking sheet. For larger pumpkins, you’ll want to quarter them. Again, placing the pieces cut side down.
Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until you can easily pierce through the skin with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet.
When the halves have cooled, use a spoon or an ice cream scoop and scrape the beautiful orange flesh away from the skin. I like to use my little cookie dough scoop.
At this point, I usually put the cooked flesh in a covered dish in the fridge overnight. All the extra liquid will pool, and you can pour it off the next day. Or save it and add it to smoothies.
Using a food processor or a stick blender, puree until it’s smooth and creamy. Easy-peasy!
Now that you have your puree ready to go, here is a list of all the things you can make with it.
My boys and I made these pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting from Gimme Some Oven for breakfast this past weekend. What? They’ve got eggs and a vegetable in them. Stop judging me.
I made one minor change to the recipe – I halved the cream cheese frosting ingredients. I’m glad I did. Half was the perfect amount of frosting for three dozen cookies, which is what the recipe makes.
How about a tender, cakey pumpkin donut? I like that she suggests using a wok to fry the donuts, so you use less oil. Brilliant!
Or if you’re looking for something a bit healthier, why not start your day off with whole wheat pumpkin muffins for breakfast instead?
Put some pumpkin pie whipped cream on your morning coffee, and even Mondays will be bearable. I dabbed this on gingerbread cookies too. So good!
Waffles. Yes, pumpkin waffles. I have used this Pumpkin Waffle recipe from Epicurious for several years. It never disappoints. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Place a thin slab of brie on your waffles sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with maple syrup, and you have just made heaven on a plate. These fancy waffles are one of my favorite fall brunch dishes.
6. Ice Cream
Or you can make this creamy pumpkin ice cream. Put a scoop on your waffles for a delectable treat! Serve this ice cream in a dish sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup for an autumn-inspired dessert.
Don’t forget to bring pumpkin out before dessert. Everyone’s favorite fall mascot should have a place at the dinner table too.
7. Baby Food
Pumpkin puree is a great first food for little ones. Don’t add anything to it, and make sure you blend it well. If you make your own baby food for your little one, then this should be on your list.
8. Pumpkin Puree Side Dish
Not just for babies, pumpkin puree also makes an excellent side dish for us big kids too. Mix in some butter, salt and pepper, and a complimentary herb like sage or thyme. Parmesan cheese pairs well too, so sprinkle it on!
9. Pumpkin Soup
I could eat pumpkin soup all winter long. There is nothing quite as good as a hot bowl of this bright, gold dish. And it’s so easy to make. Here’s my recipe for pumpkin soup.
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- ¼ cup of finely minced onion
- 4 cups of pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ cups of vegetable stock
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan melt your butter over med-low heat, add the minced onion and thyme. Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent.
- Raise your temperature to med and add the puree and vegetable stock. Heat until gently bubbling. Keep at a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream. Using a stick blender, blend the soup until it’s creamy and smooth.
- Or you can pour it into a blender several cups at a time and blend it that way. Be careful though; it will be scalding hot!
- Serve with a sprig of thyme and crispy bread.
Pumpkin soup is so easy to change up too. I like to add one cup of crumbled cooked hot Italian sausage. Sometimes I ditch the thyme, and add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and a ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper. This recipe can easily be made vegan by substituting nut milk for the heavy cream.
If you want something a bit more filling than soup, give this recipe for homemade pumpkin pasta a try.
11. Pasta Sauce
Or skip making the pasta and use the pumpkin puree to make a pasta sauce for store-bought pasta. Winter squash pasta sauce is a wonderfully comforting food in the colder months and super easy to make.
How about a hot buttered pumpkin parmesan roll to accompany your main entrée? Give this recipe from Bakerita a try.
13. Pumpkin Dip
Are you tired of the usual game-day snack options? Try switching up your options and make instead, this savory pumpkin dip from Gimme Some Oven. This dip is loaded with all things yummy, like bacon and cheese!
Things to Drink
Starbucks has nothing on these delicious fall brews.
Are there any Harry Potter fans in our readership? (Ravenclaw in the house!) Why not grab a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and sip some Pumpkin Juice? This recipe from Favorite Family Recipes is inspired by the drink served at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL.
How about a ginger pumpkin shrub? This delicious drinking vinegar is an excellent mixer for autumn cocktails or mixed with ginger ale. Check it out over at Almost a Homesteader.
Forget eating the pie, why not drink it in this deliciously creamy pumpkin pie martini.
For all of you homebrewers, why not try a pumpkin mead or beer?
Pumpkin Mead. And it’s brewed right IN the pumpkin! Yeah, I’m going to have to give this a try myself. Find all the details here on Ale Horn.
This roasted imperial pumpkin ale sounds incredible. And it’s a one-gallon batch, so it’s the right size to try it to see if you like it.
Don’t forget your four-legged friends.
19. Dog Treats
Don’t forget your four-legged friends. Mix up a batch of these tasty pumpkin dog treats. Using the puree (with nothing else added) is also suitable for puppies when they are a little, ahem, backed up. Add a tablespoon of it to their food. (Always check with your vet first.)
This amazing squash is a superfood for your skin. Over at Healthline they have broken down all the great stuff that’s packed into these super squash.
Pumpkin is a nutritional wonder, loaded potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E. It contains beta-carotene as well. Your body turns beta-carotene into Vitamin A.
Think of pumpkin as edible (and delicious) sunscreen.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, which helps protect your skin from UV damage. Pumpkin also helps your body make collagen, which keeps your skin, bones, and joints healthy, strong, and young.
Two great ways to use pumpkin on your skin are as a face mask and as a skin scrub.
20. Pumpkin and Honey Face Mask
To make a mask mix ¼ cup of pumpkin puree (fresh is better than canned for this!) with one of the following: 1 tablespoon yogurt or 1 tablespoon of raw honey or 1 tablespoon of egg white or 1 tablespoon of mashed banana. Mix well and apply to your face. Relax for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. You look amazing!
21. Pumpkin Exfoliator
For a gentle exfoliator mix ½ cup of fresh puree with 1 cup of sugar. Rub into over your skin gently. If you use it on your face, avoid the eye area. Rinse with lukewarm water and moisturize.
And because you can’t have a list of things to make with pumpkin without pie, I give you…
I had this custard pie for the first time several years ago, and let me tell you; it was a game-changer. I immediately came home and scoured the internet for the recipe. After a few flops, I stumbled across this Amish Country Pumpkin Custard Pie recipe. You’re going to love it!
I hope this list has given you some new ideas to whip up everyone’s favorite fall squash. Maybe you’ll even consider pressure canning or freezing some extra pumpkin puree so you can enjoy it year-round.
And if pumpkin isn’t enough consider that there are quite a few other varieties of winter squash to enjoy this time of year.