Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pumpin’ It Up With Pumpkin

  Most people think of pumpkins as strictly a fall or winter food, but me, well I prefer them 12 months out of the year! I am not a big fan of fresh pumpkin(although I do like the seeds roasted), but I always have a stock of Libby’s canned pumpkin ready to be used for either a dessert, baking, or in this case, a main dish.

   A little about this wondrous squash:

  • Pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds).[
  • The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon". The French adapted this word to pompon, which the British changed to pumpion and later American colonists changed that to the word we use today, “pumpkin".
  • Out of the seven continents, only Antarctica is unable to produce pumpkins; the biggest international producers of pumpkins include the United States, Mexico, India, and China.
  • As one of the most popular crops in the United States, 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year. The top pumpkin-producing states in the U.S. include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
  • Pumpkin growers often compete to see whose pumpkins are the most massive. Festivals are often dedicated to the pumpkin and these competitions.
  • The town of Circleville, Ohio, holds a big festival each year, the Circleville Pumpkin Show. The town of Half Moon Bay, California, holds the annual Pumpkin and Arts Festival, drawing over 250,000 visitors each year and including the World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Farmers from all over the west compete to determine who can grow the greatest gourd. The winning pumpkin regularly tops the scale at more than 1200 pounds. The world record pumpkin in 2007 was 1689 pounds, grown by Joe Jutras in Topsfield, Massachusetts.

A Few Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin:

  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Soups
  • Pumpkin Waffles
  • Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Pumpkin Muffins
  • Pumpkin Breads
  • Pumpkin Rolls
  • Pumpkin Cookies
  • Pumpkin Flan
  • Pumpkin Cake
  • Pumpkin Frosting
  • Pumpkin Mousse
  • Pumpkin Dip
  • Pumpkin Spreads
  • And any way you can dream up!

If you have a can laying around, why not try out this winning recipe I made the other night?

Pumpin’ It Up Shepherd's Pie

Serves: 8


  • 1 large russet potato (about 3/4 lb.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 can (15 oz.) 100% Pure Pumpkin, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 lb. extra-lean ground beef, ground turkey, or soy crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium fat-free beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)


  • PLACE potato chunks in medium saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender; drain. Return potatoes to saucepan; add 1 cup pumpkin, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth. Cover.
  • MEANWHILE, HEAT oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until carrots begin to soften. Stir in beef, flour, garlic powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Stir in broth, remaining pumpkin and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly.
  • PREHEAT broiler.
  • SPOON beef mixture into ungreased 9-inch deep-dish pie dish or other broiler-proof casserole dish (1 1/2- to 2-quart). Spoon pumpkin-potato mixture evenly over beef filling, spreading gently. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  • BROIL for 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from here.

Picnik collage

Picnik collage



Stay tuned tomorrow for a red, white, and blue tribute!


Krista said...

What a gret twist on a traditional casserole! I love canned pure pumpkin. I like to combine it with barley and veggies for a "fake" risotto!

tinyirishdancer said...

Mhmm. I LOVE pumpkin, too! Especially pumpkin ice cream and muffins.

Obviously, my sweet tooth is getting the better of me, here. ;]

But I've never actually tried pumpkin in a savory dish! You've intrigued me, now. I'll have to try it. =]

Anonymous said...

Hi I just found your blog and wanted to say Hello. I love this post. I've never had pumpkin before, we don't eat it that often in the UK, but your uses and recipes made me want to go out and buy some.

Love Ashleigh.

Jenny said...

for some reason i only think to eat pumpkin during the fall months -- thanks for the reminder that it is equally delicious year round -- especially in casseroles ;)! <3

amy. said...

PUMPKIN! Yes. Its the best--all year round. Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

Erica said...

Pumpkin is so yummy! I love buying a can and eating it as a snack with just a bit of honey and granola

Anonymous said...

I agree. I eat pumpking (or kabocha) in anything and evrything I can think of! This is yet another amazing recipe to fuel my pumpkin love!