It seems St Andrews has successfully transitioned to autumn. The leaves have changed, bundling up has become mandatory, and everyone is venturing into the library for the first time all semester.
But for me, the season isn’t complete without canned pumpkin.
If you aren’t familiar with the glory and deliciousness that is canned pumpkin, then allow me to introduce you.
Back home, as soon as September 1st rolls around, canned pumpkin hits grocery stores and suddenly kitchens everywhere are filled with a limitless array of savory and sweet concoctions.
Unaware that canned pumpkin was an “American” thing, I searched desperately for it in Morrison’s the other week. Finally, I resorted to asking an employee. I’ve never seen anyone look so confused. Not only did they not stock it, the woman had never even heard of it! Blasphemy!
Sure, I could buy a pumpkin and cut it up, but there is something very lovely about the canned stuff. It just makes me a bit sentimental, I suppose.
So what does a girl do when she’s pumpkin-less? Complains to Mom, naturally! I’ve said before that my Mom is the best, but I’m thinking of promoting her to Mom of the Year. Less than a week after crying to her, I received a lovely package filled with four cans of Libby’s canned pumpkin.
Be nice to your parents, kids.
(I’ve since discovered that Butler’s, right off Market Street, carries canned pumpkin as a specialty item. Unfortunately, at present they are out of stock, but I’ve been told they are expecting more in soon. Or you could always order cans from Amazon!)
I wanted to fully exploit my precious cans of pumpkin, so I have tried to make as wildly different recipes as possible. Today I have two to share: one savory, one sweet (and both cheap!).
Savory: Pumpkin Risotto
- 1 15 ounce canned pumpkin
- 4 cups (about 500 grams) arborio rice
- 4 cups (about 500 grams) vegetable stock
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp (8 grams) olive oil
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp nutmeg (or other spice such as cinnamon or allspice)
- 1 tbsp basil (or mixed herbs)
- 1 tbsp soy butter
- Salt and pepper
1) Saute the onion in olive oil. Add the rice and cook until it becomes transparent. Slowly add wine, allowing the rice to soak it up.
2) Slowly add vegetable broth in batches to rice mixture and allow the excess moisture to cook off before adding the next batch.
3) Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and allow to heat through.
This makes enough for about 4 people, but I just made it for myself and froze the rest.
Side note: If you can’t get pumpkin for whatever reason, I think butternut squash would be great here as well.
Sweet: Pumpkin Brownies
- 1 box brownie mix (make sure it’s vegan! Some mixes contain milk products, so read your labels carefully!)
- 1 15 ounce canned pumpkin
- 1 tbsp melted soy butter
- 1 tbsp dark chocolate syrup or melted chocolate (optional)
1) Heat the oven according to the brownie box instructions
2) Mix the brownie mix and pumpkin together and pour into a nonstick pan. Drizzle soy butter and syrup across top.
3) Bake according to box’s instructions
Side note: Once again, there are a lot of alternatives to pumpkin here: mashed banana or even avocado would work as well.
I hope I’ve inspired you to get a little creative with pumpkin. As for me, I still have one can left. Now, what will I make…
Photo credit: Alexandra Carson