It’s officially fall, and the air is getting crisp and cool, ushering in excitement for all kinds of fall activities — especially pumpkin picking! Whether you love including pumpkins in your fall décor or carving them up for Halloween, the Clemson Home and Garden Information Center encourages pumpkin fans to switch it up this year, sharing three ways to enjoy pumpkin in the kitchen.
The first and most popular pumpkin snack are the seeds, and roasting them is a fun activity for the whole family. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scrape out all the seeds, then wash the seeds, removing the clinging fibrous pumpkin tissue. Once seeds are clean and dry, toss them with oil (1 teaspoon per cup of seeds) and salt or season to taste. Roast in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
A unique take on pumpkin is to slice it up (once baked, of course) and serve as wedges. This is best done with a 2.5- to 3-pound sugar pumpkin — a smaller, sweeter variety. Cut the top off your washed sugar pumpkin, saving the lid and stem for a handle. Scrape out the seeds and pulp, wipe out the inside, then brush with melted butter and sugar or salt. Replace the lid and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Coat the inside again with butter, sugar or salt and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until fork tender. Slice into wedges to serve.
Pumpkin stuffing centerpiece
If you’re looking for an edible centerpiece for your next gathering, try a sugar pumpkin baked with stuffing — beautiful and delicious!
Start with a 3-pound sugar pumpkin, cutting the top off and reserving the lid and stem. Clear out the seeds — you can save these to roast later — and strings and season the inside generously with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, mix together: 1/4 pound stale bread of your choice (cut into half-inch chunks), 1/4 pound of cheddar and Gruyere cheese (cut into half-inch chunks), three cloves of minced garlic, four slices of bacon (cooked until crisp and chopped), 1 tablespoon thyme and 1/2 tablespoon of sage.
Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and fill with the bread and cheese mixture — you want the pumpkin well filled. Add salt and pepper to 1/3 cup of heavy cream and then pour into the pumpkin over stuffing. Place the cap back on top and bake for about two hours, but be sure to check after 90 minutes. You want everything inside to bubble and the flesh of the pumpkin tender enough to cut easily with a knife. Remove the cap for the last 20 minutes of cook time so stuffing browns on top and liquid cooks off. When done baking, use a large spoon to dig out the meat of the pumpkin and stir to incorporate into stuffing mixture.
For more delicious recipes, horticulture help or food safety information, check out the Clemson Home and Garden Information Center website: https://hgic.clemson.edu.