Cooking with Pumpkin: Beyond the Pie

Say pumpkin and you probably think of pie. But did you know that this Vitamin-A-rich beauty makes delicious breads, cakes and treats?
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With a tough skin, scaly stem, and hefty weight, a raw, whole pumpkin looks scary, but cooking with pumpkin is simple.

Choosing a fresh pumpkin

  • Check the stem. Long or short, the pumpkin stem should be firmly attached. A pumpkin with no stem, or with a loose stem, will spoil quickly.
  • Examine the outside. Surface blemishes are fine as long as they are hard to the touch, but avoid soft spots — an indication that the pumpkin is going bad.
  • Follow your instincts. If a pumpkin looks good, it probably is good.

Cook your pumpkin in any number of ways: baked, boiled, steamed, microwaved, or grilled. Preparing the pumpkin is easy — cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Whatever the prep method, a pumpkin is fully cooked when you can easy pierce it with a fork.

Note: Roasted pumpkin seeds make a tasty snack.

Pumpkin preparation tips

  • Peel off the tough outer skin before dicing into pieces.
  • If you're baking or microwaving large quarters or halves, wait until after cooking before peeling off the skin.
  • To divide a pumpkin in half, score the outer rind; then cut through the pumpkin with a knife.

Try these recipes to spice up the pumpkin in your menu. Your guests will go out of their gourds over them!

Top four pumpkin recipes

  1. Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake is frankly irresistible with a ginger-snap-and-pecan crust, and dreamy swirls of creamy spiced pumpkin.
  2. Pumpkin Pancakes make a filling fall breakfast. Try them with Chai tea.
  3. Add a fresh twist to your usual pasta with a pumpkin-based sauce. Fast and easy, Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce is sure to become a lunch and dinner favorite.
  4. This recipe for delicious Pumpkin Pecan Bread is sweet and delicately spiced.

(Editor's note: In some recipes, canned pumpkin puree may be substituted for raw pumpkin.)

Or, visit the Bakery at Giant Eagle® for a traditional pumpkin pie or one of our delicious pumpkin rolls.