The Pumpkin Challenge: Week 1

This year Jake and I have embarked on the 6th Annual Pumpkin Challenge! While our friends and family know of the challenge, for the uninitiated, the Challenge is an undertaking where each October Jake and I aim to eat pumpkin in some way each day for the whole month.

Jake started eating this way one October on a whim, bored by the few pumpkin recipes in popular imagination.The main goal of the Pumpkin Challenge is to eat pumpkin once each day, although in a bind a beer that’s been brewed with pumpkin also counts towards your daily total. It’s grown easier over the years to complete the challenge as our archive of recipes has expanded, but the Challenge is still a time where I enjoy getting creative with a singular, seasonal ingredient.

During Week 1, we home brewed a pumpkin beer with pumpkin juice, heather, and sage with our friend Greg! More on that later if it turns out well – it certainly smelled great while boiling! I also made Pumpkin Empanadas and Pumpkin and Tofu Potstickers, recipes I’ve developed over a few years of the Pumpkin Challenge. I’ve also taken frequent inspiration from other recipes on the web for Panaeng Curry with Pork and Kabocha Squash, subbing pumpkin for squash and sometimes tofu for meat, and traditional Afghan dish Kaddo Bourani. I’ve started to get creative with Kaddo Bourani as well, and aim to post my recipe soon.

Pumpkin beers on deck this week for all weather and occasions:

  • New Belgium Pumpkick: a tart pumpkin ale with cranberries
  • Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale: the classic (although not as sweet as last year?)
  • Harpoon UFO Unfiltered Pumpkin Ale: slightly hoppy and hazy pumpkin ale
  • Evolution Craft Brewing Jacques Au Lantern: Belgian style!
  • Cape Ann Brewing, Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout: sweet & roasty

As we head deeper into October, we’re looking forward to the Challenge, Week 2!  We’ll be working with other seasonal produce like greens, chiles, sweet potatoes, and corn, and I’m looking forward to the foods ahead.


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