pumpkin


When the Colonists landed in North America they found the Indians growing and using pumpkins. This large, ungainly fruit was enthusiastically embraced by the new Americans and subsequently pumpkin pie became a national Thanksgiving tradition. It was so loved that one early Connecticut colony delayed Thanksgiving because the molasses needed to make this popular pie wasn't readily available. Large, round and orange, the pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes all varieties of melon, watermelon and squash. Its orange flesh has a mild, sweet flavor and the seeds — husked and roasted — are delicately nutty. Pumpkin seeds are commonly known as pepitas. Fresh pumpkins are available in the fall and winter and some specimens have weighed in at well over 100 pounds. In general, however, the flesh from smaller sizes will be more tender and succulent. Choose pumpkins that are free from blemishes and heavy for their size. Store whole pumpkins at room temperature up to a month or refrigerate up to three months. Puréed pumpkin is also available canned. Pumpkin may be prepared in almost any way suitable for winter squash. It's a good source of vitamin A.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Guacamole Pumpkin

The Kitchen has the ultimate gross-out presentation idea for your next Halloween table. Don't just serve guacamole. Serve it in a sick Guacamole Jack-o'-Lantern!

Curried Pumpkin Soup

This dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan curry soup is made creamy with coconut milk and pureed white beans instead of cream or yogurt.

Pumpkin-Apple Soup

Start off your Thanksgiving dinner with a steaming bowl of creamy pumpkin soup.

Fuss-Free Pumpkins

We're showing you carve-free ways to decorate your pumpkins for the fall!

50 Canned Pumpkin Recipes

Put this fall favorite to good use with dozens of recipes from Food Network Magazine.

In Season: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are an autumn favorite for Americans. In fact, the U.S. is one of the top producers of pumpkins in the world. Here are ways to cook them and ideas for dishes to try.

Chefs' Picks: Pumpkin Spice

Innovative chefs around the country are elevating the status of pumpkin spice by taking it out of the paper cup and incorporating it into dishes that are far from basic.

31 Days of Pumpkins

Whether it’s for dinner, dessert or carving Jack-o-lanterns, nothing says fall quite like orange pumpkins. We’ve got pumpkin ideas for every day of the month.

A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Pumpkin

Starbucks has announced that its Pumpkin Spice Lattes will now actually contain pumpkin (and not caramel coloring).