Fall is in full swing here in Sonoma County. The grapes have been harvested, the vineyards are putting on their spectacular color show, the first rain of the season has fallen and there is a noticeable chill in the air. The other sign that Fall is in full swing…our stores are full of the season’s favorite spice – pumpkin!
This week at Oliver’s Market we’re celebrating all things pumpkin. With everything from locally grown pumpkins from Muelrath Ranch to beer/cider, soup, nog and edible sugar pie pumpkins, we have everything you need to get you into the Fall spirit.
The most popular symbol of Fall, the pumpkin, is a member of the squash family. Technically, all pumpkins are winter squash, the mature fruit of the plant. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors; however, pumpkin is typically only associated with the orange varieties of winter squash.
Muelrath Ranch Pumpkins, 29¢ per lb.
Muelrath Ranches was established in 1936 as a dairy in Bodega Bay and is a real working ranch. The family added the Santa Rosa location in 1946, where they grow pumpkins, gourds, winter squash and sunflowers. Oliver’s Market has been buying from Muelrath Ranches for years. Their pumpkins are the best because they leave the handle (stem) on all of their pumpkins. They are also sustainably farmed and pesticide free. These are the perfect pumpkins to bring an extra touch of Fall to your home.
Ace Pumpkin Cider, 6 pack, $6.99+CRV
Here is a tasty cider with the perfect fall twist. A beautiful pale golden straw color, the nose expresses notes of sweet apple, pumpkin, allspice, cinnamon and clove. The mouth-feel is crisp, clean and refreshing. Flavors of apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg glide across the palate leading to a lasting finish.
Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, 6 pack, $7.99+CRV
Aromas of pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg and vanilla are present on the nose, with pumpkin, brown sugar, gingerbread, molasses and caramel on the palate. Medium bodied, this ale finishes balanced and creamy. This ale sells out quickly year after year, so get it before it’s gone!
Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’, 6 pack, $6.99+CRV
Fall Hornin’ is a play on the saying Bahl Hornin’, which means good drinking in Boontling. This delightful fall seasonal shows aromas of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Delectable flavors of pumpkin, warm spice, caramel and vanilla lead to a creamy, smooth finish.
Imagine Foods Creamy Pumpkin Soup, 32 oz., $2.99
This delicious soup is certified USDA organic. The pumpkin has a natural sweetness that is enhanced with carrots, ginger and a special blend of spices to make this creamy soup come together in flavor harmony.
This soup can be enjoyed simply on its own, or you can use it as a base and doctor it up a bit. Sautee some fresh kale, add it to the soup and top with some toasted pumpkin seeds. Delicious!
Almond Dream Pumpkin Spice Nog, 32 oz., $1.99
This delicious almond-based beverage has the best of both worlds being sweet and spicy. Flavors of sweet pumpkin and spicy cinnamon combine together to make this the perfect drink on a crisp Fall day or even as an addition to your morning cup of coffee.
For an adult beverage alternative, pour this over ice and add a shot of spiced rum to it. Think of this as the Fall version of the traditional egg nog you would drink at Christmas.
Sugar Pie Pumpkins, 99 cents/lb
The sugar pie pumpkin is a dwarf variety pumpkin that is bread specifically for baking/cooking and is also known as the sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin. They are known for having exceptional flavor and texture.
There are many different ways that you can cook a pumpkin. I tend to like the savory route personally. Here is a recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson that is sure to put you in the Fall spirit.
Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin
Yield: 8-10 servings
Time: 2 hours
1 6.5-7 pound sugar pumpkin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 halved
1 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
Finely grated zest of half an orange
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups vegetable stock
Step 1: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a kettle with water, and bring to a boil. About an inch below the top of the pumpkin’s “shoulders,” about where it would be cut to carve a jack-o’-lantern, slice a lid from top of pumpkin, and set it aside. Remove seeds and fibrous flesh from inside.
Step 2: In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil, and sauté for 30seconds. Stir in the cranberries, ginger, allspice, saffron and orange zest. Add the rice, and stir until it is glossy. Pour in stock, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat as low as possible. Cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile rub the inside of pumpkin with cut garlic clove, and rub with some salt to taste.
Step 3: When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, it will be damp and not very fluffy. Adjust seasoning to taste, and spoon into pumpkin cavity. Press lid firmly on top. It may sit above stuffing a bit like a jaunty cork. Wrap bottom two to three inches of pumpkin in a double layer of foil to protect it from contact with water during baking. Place in a roasting pan, and add about 1 inch of boiling water to pan.
Step 4: Bake the pumpkin until it is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 1/2 hours. (If there is resistance when pumpkin is pierced, allow more baking time). To serve, remove pumpkin from pan, and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Discard foil, and place pumpkin on a serving platter. Slice into segments like a cake. Place a wedge of pumpkin on each serving plate, and mound with rice stuffing.
With so many pumpkin products to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect ones to help you welcome Fall.