Pumpkins

During October, you’re bound to see front porches lined with carved pumpkins. While the natural, fun and festive orange decorations are ideal for illuminating creepy cobwebs, these vibrant colored squashes are great to eat, too. Most grocery stores, local co-ops, pumpkin patches and farmers markets have organic pumpkins and fresh pumpkin goodies, such as pumpkin butter and pumpkin bread, this time of year. Here’s how to capitalize!

Buy, Grow Organic Pumpkins

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to find local organic pumpkins this time of year. One way to make it super simple is to search your area on Local Harvest’s website, where they can dutifully point you in the right direction.

Now, if you want to grow your own pumpkins next year, invest in organic pumpkin seeds. Seed companies, such as Burpee, have a great selection of organic pumpkin seeds.

Spiced Pumpkin Butter, Cream Cheese and Hummus

All these delightful recipes are ideal for placing atop bread, crackers or crisp veggies.

Make Organic Authority’s very own Homemade Spiced Organic Pumpkin Butter recipe.

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus (Treehugger.com, Food and Drink autumn 2011)

Ingredients
1 can worth (12-15 ounces) of dried organic chickpeas (preparation instructions)
2 organic garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup worth (6-8 ounces) of freshly pureed organic pumpkin
1 teaspoon organic cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
Organic cayenne pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Method
Place chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, water and tahini in food processor. Whirl until smooth. Add pumpkin, seasonings. Whirl. With motor running drizzle in olive oil until blended. Taste and add more lemon juice or cayenne pepper if needed.

Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese (Treehugger.com, Ezra Pound Cake)

Ingredients
1 8-ounce package of organic cream cheese, let it sit out and soften for awhile
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon organic ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon organic allspice or cloves
Dash of organic nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla

Method
In a medium mixing bowl, mix softened cream cheese, pumpkin and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Pumpkin Bread or Muffins

Fresh pumpkin bread, muffins and cake are stomach (and nose) pleasers. These fall staples are great for breakfast and lunch, and add the perfect cap to a dinner-worthy, hearty fall soup.

Katy’s Pumpkin Bread (or Muffins) (OrganicValley.coop)

Ingredients
1 cup organic, local honey
1/2 cup organic olive oil
4 large, organic eggs
15 ounces organic pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cups cooked and mashed fresh organic pumpkin)
2 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup regular rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon organic nutmeg
 3/4 cup Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola (optional)

Method
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two loaf pans or line muffin tins with unbleached paper muffin cups. Combine organic honey, oil, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl and whisk or mix until smooth. Combine flour, oat, baking powder, baking soda and spices in another, smaller bowl. Use a whisk to combine them thoroughly or sift ingredients into the bowl. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture until incorporated. Divide batter into the loaf pans or muffin cups (fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full). Sprinkle granola over loaves/muffins, pressing it lightly into the surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (40-50 minutes for loaves, 20-25 minutes for muffins). Let cool on wire racks. Remove from pans. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Other Pumpkin Uses, Goodies

Pumpkin seeds are great for munching on cold nights (Purcell Mountain Farms and Eden have organic options). Pumpkins also are great in hearty winter stews and are essential in a seasonal favorite – pumpkin spice latte!

image: var resa