When you hear the word pumpkin, you probably think of something large, round, orange and ripe for carving. In reality, the word pumpkin can be applied to many hard-shelled winter squash of any shape, size, or hue, from the expected orange to deep greens and yellows and even pale ghostly white. They are part of the gourd family, along with honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini and cucumber. Also, botanically they are a fruit, not a vegetable — from the family genus Cucubita, which grow on vines and are classified as berries. Very big berries.
Pumpkins are in season in our region throughout the fall and are a super versatile ingredient — they can be baked, steamed, grilled, pureed, or sautéed. Some of our favorite pumpkin dishes are on our menu this season: