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Simple Recipes from the Pumpkin Patch
By Marcia Passos Duffy

Before you start eyeing your 20 pound
Halloween pumpkin for a couple of pies, hold onto your butcher knife: Not all
pumpkins are created equal for cooking.

There are carving pumpkins and eating pumpkins.  All pumpkins are edible but
carving pumpkins have low sugar levels...they also have thinner wall and are
stringy. If you want to make a good pie, what you need is the smaller – no larger
than 5 pounds – and sweeter Sugar or New England Pie varieties.

Amanda Thurber a 3rd generation farmer at Lilac Ridge Farm, a certified pick-
your-own organic farm in Brattleboro, VT, also likes the New England Pie
variety, but adds that the deep red-orange Cinderella (also called Rouge Vif
d'Estampes – this variety was the prototype for Cinderella's carriage pumpkin),
and Long Island Cheese (one of the classic pumpkins of the 19th century) are her
favorites for cooking.  Red Kuri, while technically a squash, is also her preferred
gourd for making pies (this variety originated in Japan).

While Thurber would not make a pie with a carving pumpkin, she does not rule
it out for other foods: “You could cook a Jack o’Lantern (variety)…it’s not sweet
or flavorful and it’s stringy.  But it would be good pureed for soups or pumpkin
bread,” she says.  (See Pumpkin Puree recipe, below)

As for recipes, pumpkin farmers admit that cooking pumpkins – or anything for
that matter -- during pumpkin season is relegated to the simplest dishes.  “We’re
too busy harvesting,” says Robert Frizzell who, along with his wife, Polly, grows
30 acres of pumpkins at Peachblow Farm in Charlestown, NH to sell wholesale.
“When you’re in the middle of this, there's no time to make pumpkin-anything!”
he says. “We do what everybody else does at this time of year – we put them
outside on the steps.”

I did manage to pry some simple recipe from these farmers.  Here are some of
their recipes and links to other pumpkin recipes:

Lilac Ridge Farm’s Red Kuri Soup Recipe

Pumpkin Puree Recipe

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

Pumpkin Vinaigrette Recipe

Decadent Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Bread

Want to know some interesting facts about pumpkins? Check out the
Pumpkin Primer.

About the Author: Marcia Passos Duffy, is a freelance writer & author, and  the
publisher of
The Heart of New England online magazine, a free monthly online publication
that celebrates the unique character of northern New England.  
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