Picture this: a 60-something year old man, a family physician at that, lurking through his neighborhood in a cloak of darkness late at night on October 31, long after the slews of tricker treaters have headed home. One by one he starts stealing unsuspecting jack o’lanterns from porches. No, it’s not a mid-life crisis exhibiting itself in the form of smashing a pumpkin or two.
He just wants all those delicious pumpkins for cooking, and can’t bear the idea of all that wasted deliciousness being tossed in garbage bins the very next day.
This is one of my closest friend’s fathers, and his annual pumpkin collection has become a bit of a tradition.
And why the heck not? Most are locally grown, some are organic, and pretty much all of them are destined for a future in landfill. Plus, pumpkin freezes quite well – just peel, seed and cube it, and presto, you’ll have pumpkin long after Pumpkin Spiced Lattes have faded from your local Starbucks.
Now what to do with all those jack o’lanterns? The possibilities are endless but here is a list of my favorite recipes this fall.
- Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip: Kick off your meal with this appetizer by Kathy over at Healthy Happy Life. It’s served warm—a bit like a baked brie but better—and is delicious with apple slices or pumpernickel bread. Serve it at a party and be prepared to be begged for the recipe.
- Vegan Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese Sauce: Pumpkin ravioli was my obsession in the past, but now I’ve moved onto this vegan mac n’ cheese-like sauce. Whip up a double batch – baking some up for dinner tonight, and saving some for when the craving hits later in the week (the sauce keeps up to a week in the fridge... it won’t last that long, I promise!).
- Peanut-Butter-Pumpkin Cups: Move over Resses, Chocolate-Covered Katie’s recipe for these PB-pumpkin-chocoalte cups have got you beat. Best of all, they have no processed sugar, are quick and simple to make, and they don’t even require the oven. (Plus if you end up with extra PB-Pumpkin blend, it taste delicious spread on a graham cracker or banana... yes, I’ve tried both!)
- Pumpkin Butter: A bit like apple butter, but more delicious, Angela has perfected a recipe for homemade pumpkin butter. No two batches will ever be quite the same, but it’s always incredible. Swirl into oatmeal, mix in a smoothie, bake in a loaf, or just eat spread on an apple. There are so many great ways to use it, plus it makes for an amazing hostess gift at Thanksgiving.
So who will join in the annual pumpkin rescue mission at the end of the month?