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In Season: 5 Pumpkin Pickin’ Recipes

In Season: 5 Pumpkin Pickin’ Recipes

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Try these recipes while pumpkins are fresh and ripe

Nothing says fall like a tasty pumpkin dish.

There are lots of things that happen in October that remind us the seasons are changing. Leaves turn color and start to drop, the days get shorter and noticeably cooler, and the produce departments change to reflect the end of the summer season and the start of the fall harvest. Peaches and nectarines are replaced with apples and pears, and summer vegetables that have enjoyed expanded variety and shelf space start to shrink to more modest winter offerings. October marks a real change in mother nature’s offerings and nowhere is that more evident than with pumpkins.

Click here to see the In Season: 5 Pumpkin Pickin’ Recipes (Slideshow)

Pumpkin harvests are among the most time-sensitive crops produced today. Producers try to time their harvests to come off in the first and second weeks in September to allow time to harvest, pack, and ship their crop four to five weeks before Halloween so shoppers have time to enjoy them the whole season. During warm, dry summers the crop can come off early; risking quality issues later on. Cold, wet winters have the opposite effect — effectively shortening the window of availability. Pumpkins are also a regional crop, growing in all parts of the U.S., so sometimes one area will run short and it’s a mad scramble at the end of the month to move pumpkins from one part of the U.S. to another.

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday — every year I carve between 90 and 120 pumpkins and varietal winter squashes. Over the years I have developed an unofficial classification for the kind of pumpkins that are ideal for carving:

  • "Carves like butter": These are varieties that are actually closer to squashes than pumpkins or gourds. They include the Queensland Blue or Jarrahdale (blue), Cinderella (pink), and Rouge Vif d’ Etampes (red). The exterior of the pumpkin is easy to saw through and the interior is soft and easy to excavate and carve.
  • A stringy mess-: This sounds bad but it’s really not. Most of what we consider traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkin varieties fall into this category. They are still great fun to carve; it just takes longer to remove the stringy insides.
  • Hard-shell "chipper": Most white pumpkin and banana squashes fall into this class. These are specimens that generally have a soft, non-stringy interior surrounded by a hard outer shell you have to get through first. Carving gives way to chipping with these — or the liberal application of power tools.

Pumpkin selection is a matter of personal taste and careful inspection. I pick a size and shape I like and then carefully inspect the exterior for cracks and blemishes that have not scarred over. If you are like me and buy (or grow) your pumpkins well in advance of Halloween, you should be extra careful to avoid fruit with blemishes, as these may cause the pumpkin to decay prior to the holiday. Most jack-o-lantern pumpkins are not suitable for eating, but I save the seeds for roasting. For all the "carves like butter" exotics, I save the parts I remove to make a creamy winter squash soup that I serve at Halloween. Click through the slideshow for additional pumpkin recipe ideas that are great not only on Halloween, but all season.

— James Parker

The 50 Best Pumpkin Quotes and Puns to Spice up Your Fall

You'll for sure have a *gourd* time reading this list of funny sayings.

Believe it or not, fall is pretty much here already, and the countdown to Halloween and Thanksgiving has officially begun.

Of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this upcoming autumn might look a bit different. While trick-or-treating with your kids and hosting weekend football parties may not be feasible this year, there are still plenty of other social distance friendly, fall-themed activities to get you excited about the leaf-changing season. Carving pumpkins and jamming to spooky soundtracks, painting gourds with your kids while enjoying a Halloween movie marathon, snacking on pumpkin treats and sipping on cozy fall cocktails &mdash the sky is the limit!

No matter what fall looks like this year for you and your family, we guarantee that the below list of pumpkin quotes and puns will make the season even more enjoyable. Perhaps you'll want to use a quote for an Instagram caption while showing off your spooktacular pumpkin crafts. Maybe you'll feel inspired to drop a funny pun while having a Zoom party with your loved ones. Then again, maybe you just need to read something that will instantly cheer you up ahead of pumpkin season &mdash whatever the reason, you've come to the right place. Enjoy!

Primping Up Pumpkin — Fall Fest

You’ve got your go-to pumpkin pie recipe stored away in the family vault and your world-famous pumpkin bread recipe hidden underneath your pillow. Who can blame you? These desserts are as fundamental to fall as apple picking, pumpkin patching or mulled apple cider drinking. We wouldn’t dare threaten all that’s tried-and-true, but there’s something to be said for trying something new with pumpkin this season.

Now that pumpkins are in season, go ahead and skip the can. Instead, grab a few sugar pumpkins, roast, puree and then cook ‘em down with loads of spices. Homemade Pumpkin Puree is freezable, so there’s no excuse for not having the fresh stuff on hand. According to HGTV Gardens, the longer a pumpkin rests off the vine, the sweeter it will become — so try and cure your pumpkins for two or more weeks before using.

When it comes to savory, pumpkin soup proves a fall mainstay. Rather than opting for a purely pumpkin blend, add an unexpected component with Rachael Ray’s Pumpkin Soup With Chili Cran-Apple Relish.

Whipping up that Classic Pumpkin Pie, like this one by Food Network Magazine, is no small matter. Everyone has their own variation and each proves ultimately smooth and spiced. Without forsaking that comforting fall flavor, bring a little edge into your pie baking. Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie, Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie, Amaretto Pumpkin Pie With Almond Praline and Ginger Snap Pumpkin Pie With Ginger Cream all deserve a spot in your oven.

If you’re looking for something sliceable, but are over the whole pie thing, try your hand at cake baking. Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe blends two dessert favorites and her Pumpkin Roll Cake for Food Network Magazine (pictured above) is rich with fall flavors thanks to a little caramel, toffee and dark rum. While you're at it, try this Pumpkin Spice Cake With Chocolate-Pecan Filling straight out of Food Network Magazine that brings on a booming yet familiar dose of spice.

5 Healthy Ways to Bake with Pumpkin Puree — Fall Fest

If you’re daunted by the idea of baking with fresh pumpkin, well, we can’t really blame you. Splitting, gutting and skinning a whole pumpkin with nothing more than a carving knife and a large spoon to scoop out the seeds is a time-consuming process — and completely unnecessary when you have pure pumpkin puree on hand. Luckily, one-half cup of unsweetened canned pumpkin contains roughly 50 calories per serving, which means it’s a great way to add moisture and creaminess to your favorite baked goods for very little additional fat or sugar. Better yet, it’s a quick and convenient method for imbuing each bite of cookie, muffin or pie with comforting fall flavor. Here are five easy ways to work rich pumpkin puree into your favorite baked goods, from classic pumpkin pie to cheesy pumpkin biscuits.

Instead of relying on fat for flavor, Ellie Krieger’s better-for-you muffins get their distinctively warm spiciness from molasses, dark brown sugar and a total of four ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Low-fat buttermilk, canned pumpkin and just a touch of canola oil instill a moist tenderness in each of these wholesome pumpkin-seed-flecked muffins.

Crock Pot Praline Apple Crisp

Are you looking for a great recipe for all those apples from family apple picking this fall? This Crock Pot Praline Apple Crisp takes the traditional fall favorite up a notch.

Cris here.
We LOVE fall around here and fall is just around the corner!
We do all the local fall activities&hellip pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides&hellip AND one of our favorites&ndash Apple Picking!!

Miss Add sure does love her apples! And the ones from our local orchard are always so fantastic. Miss Add has been a professional apple pickin&rsquo kid since she was knee-high to a grasshopper 😉 When she was little she used call it &ldquogoing to the apple porchard.&rdquo

Sigh&hellip don&rsquot you just want to bottle up those moments?

We usually go to the &ldquoapple porchard&rdquo several times each season and make all kinds of our fall favorites: Fried Cinnamon Apples, Orchard Cider Slushies, Crock Pot Apple Crumble Cobbler, Slow Cooker Apple Butter, Apple Cinnamon Crock Pot Oatmeal and Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apple Sauce to name a few 😉
See I told you we pick LOTS of apples!

Maple Pumpkin Fall Harvest Trail Mix

I don’t care what anyone says…it’s totally fall, y’all.

To kick off the season of Pumpkin Spice All The Things!, I am sharing this autumn flavored trail mix recipe that’s so good you’ll keep a stash in your pocketbook, on your counter beside your coffee maker, under your bedside table, and in a small plastic baggy in between your boobs.

Ok, I’m kinda-sorta-a little bit kidding about that last one there, but only kinda sorta.

I confess! I have this habit of putting things in my bra, especially my phone, for several reasons:

  1. I am a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom so very rarely am I wearing anything other than yoga pants i.e. zero pockets.
  2. I have a two year old who will find the most dangerous thing in the room to play with, and I have to get rid of said object rather quickly before he pokes his eye out AND this little cookie monster also likes to steal my snacks, even if he has the same exact thing in a bowl right in from of him, so I have to stash them so he won’t snatch them all away.
  3. Owen loves to be cuddled and carried around a lot and I almost always have at least one thing in my hand when he wants to be picked up (see #1).

See? So the snacks in the cleavage totes makes sense now right?

Sooooo…while I’m on the topic of confessing, I have something else to tell y’all.

If you know me at all, I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but the hubs and I have decided we are moving back to Charleston. Talk about a road trip.

*cue confetti a la Kevin Bacon in Footloose*

This really isn’t a shocker, and I’m almost certain everyone in our family knew this was coming eventually. When we first moved to North Carolina we were at a completely different point in our lives. We had just gotten married, we were struggling financially, we had just suffered a loss, and we were offered an opportunity that was incredibly intriguing.

The thing is, nothing here has worked out as planned. Well, except for the fact that we have very nearly paid off all of our debts except for my student loans.

Other than that, nothing has happened like we expected it to.

Our biggest decision maker for the move back is Owen. I found out I was pregnant 3 months after we moved to North Carolina and obviously his well being is at the forefront of every decision we make in our lives. Charleston will offer our son so many more opportunities that he could ever receive here, and we want our son to have the absolute best life we can give him.

Another thing? Will and I have been together for nearly nine years, we’ve been married for close to four, and we have only lived together, with just the two of us, for 11 months. Seriously. Out of that time, we’ve only been able to truly dedicate 11 measly months to the foundation of our family. That in and of itself warrants a change.

The good news is that neither of us feel as if our time here was wasted. We both picked up some fantastic training in various skills which will do nothing but propel us to success. As I mentioned above, we have paid down a massive chunk of our debts so when we move home, we won’t be scrapping by as much as we were before. We’ve both been able to watch our son grow up without missing milestones because we’ve essentially been able to set our own hours and schedules, and Owen has been able to form an unbreakable bond with his paternal grandparents.

To say I’m stoked would be full of constraint because I am ecstatic, elated, overjoyed, jubilant, proud, thrilled and every other synonym you can think of. As the real estate season comes to a close, my husband and I will be searching for jobs and packing our things in the hopes of being settled before the new year. Our time in North Carolina has been an interesting journey, and I can’t wait to see where the new roads lead.

5 Easy Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

A lighter-than-air twist on classic pumpkin pie is sure to wow your guests and leave a lasting impression.

Perfect Pie Crust

Make this easier-than-pie crust up to two days before Thanksgiving, so you won&apost feel overwhelmed on the big day.

Cran-Apple Bundle

This crust is a definite crowd-pleaser, and the filling is a perfect mixture of sweet and tart.

Cream of the Crop

Gussy up whipped cream with a dollop of créme fraiche or slivers of crystallized ginger, grated citrus zest, a scraped vanilla bean or a drop of your favorite liqueur.

    at 668 Jones Hill Rd, West Haven. Monday-Thursday: 12 PM-8PMFriday-Sunday: 12 PM-9PM at 389 Wheelers Farms Road in Milford. "Our pumpkin patch is bountiful from the harvest and ready for your pickin's." They are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. at 1339 New Haven Ave. in Milford. They are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. at 361 Old Tavern Road in Orange. According to their website, "Come fall time, the farm comes alive with holiday decorations grown on site. Pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and mums are available in many different varieties to make sure we get you what you need for decorating in Autumn. "The Famous Corn Maze: Treat Farm has been creating unique corn mazes each year that bring out the kid in all of us. A visit after Labor Day isn't complete until you tackle our 5 acre maze. You can make it even more challenging if you would like by trying one of our nightime flashlight mazes." Read More here.

Southern Living says small, round sugar pumpkins, sometimes called pie or sweet pumpkins, are the best pumpkins for baking. The stem should be brown, but still firmly attached, and check for blemishes and bruising. And don't get hung up on the color. As a pumpkin matures, its flesh dulls.

JoyFoodSunshine was our first stop on the spin around the internet in search of classic homemade pumpkin pie recipes. It requires an investment in time — a little over two hours — but blogger Laura says on her website the 10-ingredient recipe "is the only pumpkin pie recipe you'll ever need" and that "literally everyone" who tries it falls in love with it.

"It's a beautiful blend of creamy, spicy sweet flavors that encompass all that is wonderful about fall," Laura says.

Everything about this pie is made from scratch, from the crust to the dollop of homemade whipped cream added after it's been plated. Laura tells you everything you need to know, from the tools you'll need to how to know when the pie is done.

Sheri B., whose from-scratch pumpkin pie recipe is featured on, says the roasted pumpkin can be puréed using a sieve, food mill, blender or food processor, but she likes to create the filling with a hand potato masher.

For some cooks, secret pumpkin pie ingredients make for an unforgettable dessert. New York City-based food and wine writer Mandy Naglich's recipe on Taste Of Home calls for cracked black pepper.

"The best way to preserve the spiciness of pumpkin spice is with freshly cracked black pepper," Naglich writes. "It adds a robust bite to the traditional spice mix, which comes across subtly in each mouthful of pumpkin pie."

The pepper won't make the pie "spicy," but guests may ask where you got the super-fresh spices, she says.

"Food Hussy" Heather Johnson touts the secret ingredient in her mom's pumpkin pie recipe. For years, Johnson's mother refused to share the recipe, but eventually gave it up to her blogger daughter: It's Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry, a dessert wine.

After you've gone to all the trouble of baking from-scratch pumpkin pie, you may decide using a can of pumpkin pie filling is easier. But it's a coronavirus quarantine memory, and hopefully a pleasant one, that you'll always have.

13 Pumpkin Cocktails to Drink All Fall

Add a little apple to your classic Moscow Mule and you've got a drink tailor-made for your Thanksgiving table.

Get the recipe at The Cookie Rookie.

Any reason to spike your coffee in the a.m. is a good reason.

Get the recipe at The Wholesome Dish.

It's like pumpkin pie in liquid form, and you won't OD on sugary sweetness.

Get the recipe at Kitchen Konfidence.

Take your shots like the classy, grown-ass woman you are: from mason jars rimmed with graham crackers. Adulting is fun!

Get the recipe at A Night Owl.

Bring a summer classic into fall! Start with apple cider, mix in pumpkin beer, add a little extra pumpkin seasoning, and garnish with a seasonal apple slide.

Get the recipe at With Salt & Wit.

Not a martini fan? The graham cracker-cinnamon-sugar coated rim on this fancy cocktail might be just what converts you.

Get the recipe at No Spoon Necessary.

Forget the idea that sangria is best during the summer months. To make this, you'll pumpkin butter or puree (or freshly roasted pumpkin if you feel like being fancy), apple cider, rosé wine, apple- or pumpkin-flavored bourbon, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, some ginger powder, and apples and oranges. Mmm.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

If you’re looking for a different pumpkin dessert to make this holiday season, I’ve got the recipe for you! This scrumptious Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a delicious twist on a one of my favorite desserts — carrot cake! This may not be one of my easy dessert recipes but it is definitely one of the best!

I got this recipe from my mom. Several years ago, this recipe took top prize at her office bake-off! And, since it was based on carrot cake, I knew I had to try it!

This recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but you could just as easily swap out your own homemade pumpkin puree. That’s how I do it.

Here are some other recipes you may like:

For more recipe inspiration, be sure to check out these pages on It is a Keeper:

Watch the video: Pumpkins for Dummies Reupload (May 2022).