Quick Recipes and Easy

Fresh Pumpkin Recipes: 5 Great Ways to Use Fresh Pumpkin

It’s autumn, and veggie shops are overflowing with gorgeous golden pumpkins. Pumpkin is a highly nutritious vegetable, rich in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins, so it’s a fantastic way to add goodness to fall menus.

You can substitute canned pumpkin in any recipe using pumpkin puree, but you’ll get a better flavour if you cook fresh pumpkin yourself. For the best flavour, slice and seed fresh pumpkin and roast in a medium oven for 30-40 minutes until tender. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and mash or blend the flesh. Alternatively, peel and seed raw pumpkin, cut into chunks, place in a large pan with the minimum of water and simmer until tender. Drain thoroughly and mash, blend or process to a puree.

Here are 5 thoughts for using fresh pumpkin.

Pumpkin soup Pumpkin makes wonderful soup. Cook cubes of fresh pumpkin in vegetable stock, adding other vegetables such as onion, leek, potato, carrot or turnip if you wish. When the vegetables are tender, puree in a blender or food processor. For extra savour, add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Ground or grated fresh ginger also work well.

Pumpkin cakes Add up to 175ml (1 cup) pureed pumpkin to teabread recipes, for moistness. Always use spice with pumpkin, because its natural flavour is very mild. Traditional choice is a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.

Pumpkin pies Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a pumpkin pie. The simplest way to make one is to use bake a pastry case or pie crust (or buy a excellent quality ready-made one). For enough filling for two 9-inch (20cm) pie crusts, mix 450 ml (2 ½ cups) pumpkin puree, fresh or canned, with 5 fl oz low-stout evaporated milk, three beaten eggs and 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, ¾ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp each nutmeg and allspice (but check before adding spices, as some canned pumpkin comes ready-spiced). Bake for 15 mins at 425F/220C/gas 7, lower the temperature to 350F/180C/gas 4 for another 40 minutes.

Pumpkin pancakes Fantastic for breakfast, these are whizzed up in minutes. Substitute 90ml (1/2 cup) pumpkin puree for the same quantity of milk in your favourite pancake recipe and cook in a hot pan, pouring just enough batter to make small pancakes.

Pumpkin in savoury dishes Try cubed pumpkin, browned with onion and garlic, then simmered in a tomato sauce with a dash of chilli. Fantastic with pasta or rice. Or use pumpkin in risotto. Finely chop and soften 4 shallots or one onion in a small olive oil. Stir in 250g ( 1 ½ cups) risotto rice, 500g (3 cups) grated fresh pumpkin (use a food processor to do the grating), then gradually add 850ml (5 cups) hot vegetable stock, making sure each addition has been absorbed into the rice before you add the next. When rice and pumpkin are tender, stir through a generous grating of Parmesan cheese, and leave to stand, covered for 10 minutes to allow the rice to swell.

Pumpkin is only in season for a couple of months, so make the most of it this year in these fresh pumpkin recipes.

Elizabeth Martyn is webmaster at healthy-eating-made-simple.com healthy-eating-made-simple.com, where she provides information, tips and recipes on using seasonal, fresh ingredients to feed the family healthily and without hassle.

Visit the site for detailed healthy-eating-made-simple.com/fresh-pumpkin-recipes.html healthy-eating-made-simple.com/fresh-pumpkin-recipes.html and other seasonal recipes.

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