Fall is upon us and so is the seasons bounty. With that being said, we are all ready to welcome the pumpkins into our homes. Pumpkins are a winter squash and we all look forward to carving a pumpkin as Halloween approaches. The month of September welcomes the pumpkin season in most parts of the U.S., including the Pumpkin festival in Manteca, Ca, as well as the pumpkin patch at Dell’Osso Farms in Lathrop, CA, which welcomes thousands of visitors from all over California every year.
There are many different sizes, colors and shapes of pumpkins to choose from. For example, the Pumpkin most commonly used for Jack-o-lanterns is the heirloom variety known as the Connecticut field Pumpkin. Named after the corn fields in Connecticut were the pumpkins were grown. These pumpkins were once only used for hog feed, but now Halloween has transformed this pumpkin into a cash crop. We might even get to see a giant pumpkin, or even climb one. The giant pumpkin can grow to weigh over a ton. There are even competitions for the biggest pumpkin.
As for cooking, Butternut squash has been one of my favorite things to cook, whether it is in a ravioli with brown butter, risotto with pancetta, or savory bread pudding (can also be made as a dessert) it will always be delicious. Even Dan Barber of Blue Hill, teamed up with a plant breeder from Cornell University to breed the Honeynut squash, a smaller butternut squash with intense sweetness and less seeds. If your favorite fall pie is the pumpkin pie made with Libbys canned pumpkin puree, you have probably been eating a butternut squash pie. 80 percent of pumpkins used for pumpkin puree are indeed butternut squash. It is used for its sweeter flavor than most pumpkin varieties and higher percentage of usable trim.
Also, do not forget you can make a quick snack by toasting the pepitas, also known as the pumpkin seeds to avoid waste. Or if you are into brewing your own beer, crafting your own pumpkin beer might even become a fall tradition. Many breweries have started to offer seasonal beers such as Blue Moon pumpkin ale, The Great’er Pumpkin, and Good Gourd. Lets take advantage of fall and enjoy a pumpkin whether in a ravioli, pie or mug, it is simply delicious!