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A Plethora of Pumpkin Dishes

By Alana Sugar, October 17, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
Every year, I look forward to the fall. Partly for my birthday celebrations, but mostly for the food! Ask anyone who knows me; they’ll tell you I am of the pumpkin persuasion. Simply meaning, come October I fall prey to many delicious pumpkin dishes, including pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, baked pumpkin, pumpkin pie and just about any other seasonal pumpkin dish you can think of. Pumpkins are native to North America where they have been used as food for thousands of years. In the US, approximately 1½ billion pounds of pumpkins are grown each year. They can range in size from very small (less than a pound) to gargantuan (over one thousand pounds!). Available canned, frozen and fresh, pumpkin is harvested in time for the holidays but is available year-round. While frozen and canned pumpkin are certainly good choices, most folks don’t realize how simple it is to prepare fresh pumpkin. Here’s what I do:
  1. Purchase the little sugar-pie pumpkins (my favorites).
  2. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  3. Cut off the stem ends, wash the pumpkins, cut them in half, and scoop out the seeds but don’t throw them away! You may want to roast the seeds later for a fun treat.
  4. Lay the pumpkins, cut side down, on an oiled baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Cool, then scoop out the filling and mash it up. You can use a food processor for this, if desired. Remember, two cups of mashed, freshly cooked pumpkin is about the equivalent of one regular-sized can.
Before you get started with your pumpkin recipes, remember to never use your carved out Jack-o-Lantern for food! It’s not very fresh and sanitary (candle wax, anyone?) plus larger pumpkins don’t have the best flavor. They can be stringy and watery and are best for decoration and carving. For cooking, choose the smaller varieties. They are sweeter and are great for baking. And, you can substitute pumpkin one for one in any recipe calling for mashed sweet potato or varieties of winter squash such as butternut or acorn. This fall, plan on pumpkin! Here are some great ways to start: Are you a member of the pumpkin persuasion? Got an idea or a recipe? Let me know!
Category: Food & Recipes, Produce




Kate says ...
Try this pumpkin mac & cheese - sure to please! It's a twist on the traditionally comforting dish because it's gluten-free and vegan. http://bread-n-chocolate.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-pasta.html
10/18/2011 8:22:36 AM CDT
Gayle Hoskins- Nestor says ...
I am from the Piedmont area of North Carolina. I now live in Australia. Pumpkins in Australia are a main food source. They are used mostly in a savory (salt) type way. A good example is the Pumpkin soup which can be baked in the oven in a large hollowed pumpkin shell, on the stove top, or the way I do it, in the crock pot. Pumpkin Soup Aussie Style In a large crockpot add vegetables One large Butternut squash Here we also add a Japanese "Jap" Pumpkin http://www.taste.com.au/how+to/articles/455/pumpkin one chopped Shalotte, one large yellow onion, 2 sweet potato's, 4 white potato's, 1/2 lb of bacon (I partially cook mine to get rid of excess fat) a full lb of cooked deboned chicken, add chicken stock to the mix approximately 2 cups. Add salt and pepper to taste, fresh coriander chopped, and fresh basil chopped. Leave this mixture cooking until the vegetables break down and can be mashed with a potato masher. Usually this is half a day in a crock pot on low setting. When this soup is finished and ready to serve add a dollop of sour cream and serve with a crusty homemade bread. This dish serves as an entire meal. **** the potato's seem to give this dish texture so I always use large potato's. Sometimes I leave the mixture lumpy because it seems heartier.
10/19/2011 4:23:46 PM CDT
Julie says ...
I really have a question more than a comment. Does anyone have any recipes for Pumpkin Cookies? If so, could you please email to me? Thanks!
10/19/2011 6:01:30 PM CDT
ashley says ...
hi i like pie pumpkin pie is beast
10/19/2011 6:44:07 PM CDT
Dave Beaulieu says ...
Thanks for these great ideas. I love cooking with pumpkin, but obviously only do it this time of year. Pumpkin soup is one of my favorites...but with a little creatively you can turn it into a Jack-O-Lantern soup, like I do here; http://tiny.cc/3rd1j
10/19/2011 9:41:33 PM CDT
Alicia says ...
Can you freeze the pumpkin mash once it's cooled? It would be great to be able to stock up!
10/20/2011 6:49:05 AM CDT
Judith says ...
Thanks for the various pumpkin recipes. I share your obsession with all things pumpkin!
10/20/2011 9:02:26 PM CDT
starla h says ...
oh i just cannot wait to try these!!! yum!
10/21/2011 10:33:41 AM CDT
janejohnson says ...
@Alicia ABSOLUTELY! I've got a few containers frozen in my freezer right now. It defrosts well in the microwave as well as on your counter top. Cheers to stocking up!
10/28/2011 1:59:43 PM CDT