From Front Porch to Dinner Table: Putting Pumpkin on Your Plate

An iconic fall staple, the humble pumpkin is much more than holiday decor. It can add comforting fall flavor to many kitchen dishes and is one of Michigan’s key vegetable crops. 

Michigan farmers grow about 80 million pounds of pumpkins on 5,000 acres, making the mitten the fourth largest producer in the US (2017). Indigenous to Central America and Mexico, pumpkins first came to North America 5,000 years ago with migrating indigenous communities.

In the kitchen, they are versatile and can be added to many recipes, sweet or savory. Soups, stews, chilis, pies, cookies, pancakes, and more all work well with a bit of pumpkin included. The edible flesh of pumpkins are a great source of fiber, Vitamin A and C while their seeds are a good source of fiber and healthy fats. Pumpkin blossoms are also edible and are delicious stuffed or used in soups. When picking one to eat, look for the smaller “pie” pumpkin varieties. These are sweeter than larger pumpkins and will have a more enjoyable texture when cooked.

Pumpkin Lasagna with Ricotta and Swiss Chard

Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Soup

Natalie Emerick is dietetic intern with a masters degree in nutritional science with a concentration in sustainable food systems from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. 

Kelly Wilson is TLD’s Director of Community Partners and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.