As we’ve mentioned before, the pumpkin (technically a gourd, and not a squash) is an American original, cultivated by the indigenous people who lived here, an integral part of the agricultural trifecta of corn-beans-pumpkin. Explorers and colonists in North America took the pumpkin back to Europe and around the world, starting in the late 15th Century.
And boy, even six hundred years later, we still love our pumpkins. Just the sight of the big orange globes at the farmers’ market has the magical effect of putting us in an autumnal mood. The smell of pumpkin bread baking in the oven, or even just the promise of a sprinkle of Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend on a latté, enchants us.
So, for Halloween 2016, here are three pumpkin ingredients that cast a spell on us, just like Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother:
Bibbity! Behold: the sophisticated majesty of Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil. Far more portable than Cinderella’s carriage, our Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil is a versatile, delicious oil with a centuries-long list of culinary uses. Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil ($20/bottle) is made by pressing roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds or “pepitas.” It has an intense nutty taste and is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and its relatively low smoke point makes it well-suited for use as a finishing oil, or in recipes that cook over very low heat.
We use Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil in salad dressings, desserts (think: pumpkin bread and pie, pastries and even ice cream). Add to your pancake batter for a dash of pumpkin flavor at breakfast. Drizzle over any baked or roasted squash or potato dish. Finish pumpkin or squash soups, and wintry stews, with a splash of Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil. Toss veggie pasta dishes in Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil. See a list of Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil recipes here.
Bobbity! For me, happy childhood memories are unleashed by the smell of holiday baking: cinnamon, cloves, and ginger in the pies and cakes we made for feasts with the family, and for giving as gifts – that is, pumpkin pie spices.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend is a blend of “warm” spices: cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and a subtle hint of white pepper. Our spice blend brings all the smells and the spicy burst of flavor for all that holiday baking, combined in one container.
This spice blend is also a welcome “warm” addition to so many other recipes: add to squash or root vegetables, whether alone or in soups, stews or desserts. Stir into sweet batter breads, like banana, zucchini, or [of course] pumpkin; add to carrot and coffee cakes, muffins and spice cakes. Make every weekend morning feel like a holiday by adding a dash of pumpkin pie spice blend to your pancake, crepe, or french toast batter. And don’t forget our most decadent use of Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend: sprinkled atop the steamed milk on a chai or espresso drink. Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend ($5.10/jar) recipes here.
Boo! Our love of all things pumpkin even extends to actual … pumpkins, too. Enjoy some thoroughly modern pumpkin dishes. We’ve got a lot of recipes for pumpkin dishes here on the website. Check out these innovative ideas:
- Sweet and Spicy Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Cupcakes (pictured, right, featured in last week’s SpicyBytes newsletter)