When the weather starts to cool off and the leaves start to turn, that’s when I whip out the pumpkin! Pumpkin is a must-use ingredient in my house come autumn. I personally make sure my pantry is stocked with both canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin to get me through all the amazing sweet and savory pumpkin recipes I like to make in the fall.
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite sweet and savory pumpkin recipes for you to try. You’ll find classic pumpkin dishes on here (like, say, a Pumpkin Spice Latte), but also some creative takes on fall’s favorite flavor. Before we dig into the list, let’s make sure we cover pumpkin basics.
When is it best to use canned pumpkin versus fresh pumpkin?
If you want the smooth texture, moisture, and flavor of pumpkin (like in a smoothie or pie), that’s when you want to reach for the canned pumpkin puree (not canned pumpkin pie filling).
If you want actual chunks of pumpkin in your final dish, that’s when you’ll need to get your hands on a fresh pumpkin. With a little bit of elbow grease, you can also process fresh pumpkin to delicious pumpkin puree that you can use in place of canned pumpkin.
How do you prepare a fresh pumpkin for cooking?
I have two ways of preparing a fresh pumpkin, depending on how I plan to use it.
- If you plan to chop it up and use it in pieces: Wash the dirt off the pumpkin and remove the skin (a Y-shaped peeler makes this much easier). Then, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy guts. From there, you can cut the pumpkin flesh into whatever size pieces you need.
- If you plan to make pumpkin puree: Slice the pumpkin in half (no need to peel), and after you roast the pumpkin to make it soft and blendable, you’ll be able to scoop the pumpkin right out of the skin. We have a full tutorial on how to make pumpkin puree that you can follow for more information.
Don’t toss those seeds! Use them to make our flavored roasted pumpkin seeds.
Can you eat raw pumpkin?
Yup! It’s perfectly safe to eat raw pumpkin. However, some pumpkin tends to have fibrous flesh that is hard to chew, not very tasty, and hard on the digestive tract. Most folks prefer to cook their pumpkin before enjoying.
What does pumpkin do in baking?
Pumpkin puree added to baked goods is a great substitute for some or all of the fat or oil in a recipe. It adds moisture and a touch of sweetness.
Can I freeze fresh pumpkin chunks?
Absolutely! Just prepare it as you would for cooking, and then flash freeze it flat in one layer. Once frozen, transfer to your preferred freezer container (vacuum sealer bags, zip-top freezer bags, glass food storage containers, etc.)
Can I freeze pumpkin puree?
You can also freeze pumpkin puree to use in soups, pumpkin bread, or pies down the road. Pumpkin puree isn’t safe for home canning due to its density, so any puree I want to save for winter, I freeze!
Freeze pumpkin puree in a silicone muffin tin. Then, once frozen solid, pop out the pucks and store in a freezer-safe container. Now you have perfectly portioned pumpkin puree for baking, smoothies, and more!