What to cook this week: Recipes featuring pumpkin (not pumpkin spice)

Farmer Mick Smales inspects a pumpkin that has grown on his farm and is waiting to be picked and dispatched in a field at Lyburn Farm in Landford on October 22, 2014 in Wiltshire, England. Matt Cardy/Getty Images

What to cook this week” is a weekly series featuring recipes that use local, seasonal produce. Look for new ideas and recipes every Thursday. 

Naysayers be damned — we haven’t reached “peak pumpkin.”

Although there have been cries both this year and last that the world cannot handle anymore pumpkin-flavoured concoctions, let’s be clear. Pumpkin and pumpkin spice are quite different.

While pumpkin spice, which doesn’t actually contain pumpkin, may be overdone, fresh pumpkin shouldn’t be punished for the marketing push to see a certain spice show up in every coffee shop, ice cream parlor and bakery from coast to coast.

This Sept. 29, 2014 photo shows pumpkin risotto with fried sage in Concord, N.H. Like omelets or tortillas, risotto is attractive as a weeknight dinner because of its flexibility. AP Photo/Matthew Mead

With that in mind, we take a closer look at pumpkin, a fall favourite that can be used in a variety of recipes and dishes.

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A four-ounce serving of cooked pumpkin contains 38 calories and is an excellent source of Vitamin A, riboflavin and thiamine. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C.

If you’re buying a pumpkin to cook with (not to decorate or carve), look for smaller pie pumpkins with firm, orange skim. Store your whole pumpkin in a cool, dry place, where it will keep for several months.

Once you’ve diced it, pumpkin should be stored in the fridge and used within five days. You can also store pumpkin in the freezer for up to six months.

Try these recipes from Food Network Canada that feature pumpkin.

This Oct. 20, 2014, photo shows ultra creamy pumpkin pie in Concord, N.H. The pie has a chocolate crumb pie crust, but the filling will work wonderfully in any crust. AP Photo/Matthew Mead

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