Root Source: Pumpkin
what you should know
Whether carved into jack-o'-lanterns, baked into pies or covered in proverbial frost, pumpkins symbolize our annual descent into winter.
Giant pumpkins are best for carving; the flesh has little taste. For cooking, look for the smaller specimens known as sugar pumpkins (or "pie pumpkins").
family matters Thin-skinned summer squash are gathered before maturity; thick-skinned pumpkins aren't picked until after the first frost. A grooved woody stem and deep orange color set the pumpkin apart from other winter squash.
when in rome In Italy, pumpkin is a common pasta filling. Pumpkin is fried and served with yogurt sauce in Afghanistan. In Mexico, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are made into a tasty sauce.
in the can Many holiday recipes call for canned supermarket pumpkin -- but pumpkin purée is easily made from scratch.
world's greatest If the fact that 80 percent of the world's canned pumpkin is processed in Morton, Illinois doesn't make you want to visit, maybe its annual pumpkin-chucking contest will.
what you need
If you're cutting pumpkin, you're going to need a nice, sharp knife.
If you're craving pumpkin in music form, how about Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness?
If you're more inclined to believe in the Great Pumpkin than in Santa Claus, get yourself a copy of the Charlie Brown classic.
what you do
Nut brittle gets a sophisticated twist with spicy pumpkin seed brittle.
Sweet-hot pumpkin enchiladas make a quick and meatless weeknight meal.
Fish, squash and legume bisque is a hearty soup traditionally served during Holy Week and delicious anytime.
If your Thanksgiving plans don't include turkey, pumpkin gnocchi would be a great way to celebrate instead.