Early colonists learned to grow and use pumpkins from Native Americans. Pumpkin and the pie made from it became a National Thanksgiving tradition (the holiday was even delayed once because molasses for the pie was not readily available).
Pumpkin is a member of the gourd family which also include muskmelon, watermelon and squash. It has orange flesh (and usually an orange exterior) with a mild, sweet flavor with edible seeds (pepitas) when husked and roasted.
Season: available year-round
How to select: They can grow to over 100 pounds, but only the smallest sizes have tender flesh suitable for eating. Select pumpkins that are free of blemishes and heavy for their size. Pureed pumpkin is also available canned.
How to store: They will keep whole at room temperature for a month, and in the refrigerator for three.
How to prepare: bake.
Matches well with: apples, bacon, bourbon, brown sugar, butter, caramel, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, Cognac, cream, duck, garlic, ginger, Gruyere cheese, honey, leeks, mace, maple syrup, mint, molasses, mushrooms, nutmeg, nuts, olive oil, onions, pecans, pepper, pumpkin seeds, rum, sage, sherry, sour cram, sugar, thyme, vanilla, vinegar, walnuts, yogurt