Category Archives: Recipes

Pumpkin & Squash Recipes Perfect for Fall

When you harvest your winter squash and pumpkins, sometimes the actual size of your harvest can come as a bit of shock. These prolific plants are excellent at hiding even more produce under their large leaves than you thought was possible. Thankfully, if you properly cure them, they’ll keep for months. Plus, there are so many fun ways to use them. Here are some of our favorite pumpkin and winter squash recipes perfect for this time of year. 

Dehydrated Pumpkin Pie Leather Roll-Ups

Ever wish you could take pumpkin pie on the go? These Pumpkin Pie Roll-Ups Colleen shared on her blog Grow Forage Cook Ferment are the perfect fall snack. They’re sweet even though they’re sugar-free. If you’ve got a dehydrator, give these a try.

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Who doesn’t love a big stack of waffles on a cool, crisp morning? Adding a bit of your pumpkin or winter squash with this Pumpkin Spice Waffle recipe makes them extra special for fall.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie Truffles

These Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie Truffles from Kathie of Homespun Seasonal Living are a great treat, even if you’re not an experienced candy maker or baker. These truffles are decadent yet straightforward and perfect for fall get-togethers. 

Moroccan Cushaw Salad

Cushaws are popular southern winter squashes that were commonly grown by enslaved people in the late 18th century. One of our favorite culinary historians, Micheal Twitty, shared a great recipe for Moroccan Cushaw Salad on his blog, Afroculinaria. 

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter is one of our favorite pumpkin recipes at Southern Exposure, and it’s surprisingly simple to make. While some people pressure can pumpkin butter, we use this easy recipe and store it in the refrigerator. 

Pumpkin Soup

Eva Kosmas Flores has tons of pumpkin and winter squash recipes that are as tasty as they are beautiful. If you’re looking for something to warm you up on a chilly fall day, we recommend her pumpkin soup recipe that she learned in Germany.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

These pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls are a delicious treat that pair perfectly with your morning cup of coffee or tea. They also make excellent gifts. 

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Last but not least, you can’t forget your furry friend! This Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treat recipe from Timber Creek Farm is perfect for including your pet in the fall festivities or gifting to a dog-loving friend. 

What’s your favorite pumpkin or winter squash recipe? Let us know if we missed any great ones on Facebook. 

Herbal Infused Oils & Vinegars

It’s often surprising, especially to new gardeners, just how much you can harvest from a couple of herb plants. With relatively little effort you can have tons of basil, rosemary, oregano, and more. This time of year you’ll need to figure out how to preserve your herbs if you want to keep using them this winter. One simple, flavorful way to preserve herbs is to create infused oils and vinegars.

Vinegar

Herbal vinegars are excellent for homemade salad dressings and marinades or for sprinkling over sauteed or roasted vegetables. I love sautéed swiss chard with a splash of garlic vinegar.

You can use any type of vinegar you have on hand. Personally, apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar are my favorites. You can also use whatever herbs you desire. I love sage, tarragon, garlic, basil, lemon balm, and dill.

To make you vinegar, loosely pack your herbs into a clean, glass jar. Bruising them a bit with a spoon can help bring out the flavor. Then cover your herbs with vinegar. Try to make sure all the herbs are fully submerged before putting a lid on your jar.

Allow your vinegar to steep in a cool, dark place for at least one week. After one week you can taste your vinegar to see if you like the flavor. If it isn’t strong enough you can let it continue to steep. It could take up to three weeks.

Oils

Herbal infused oils have been used as both food like basil oil and medicine like calendula oil. Like herbal vinegars, they make great homemade salad dressings and are also delicious for dipping fresh bread in.

To create herbal oils you’ll want a high-quality vegetable-based oil. Olive oil is my favorite but sunflower or other oil would work as well.

Traditionally, fresh herbs would be placed in a jar and covered with oil. They’d be left to steep somewhere warm and out of direct sunlight for several weeks. However, modern food safety experts recommend against this practice as fresh herbs and oil could create botulism.

If you want to use fresh herbs try gently heating them in the oil to impart their flavor more quickly than steeping them. Your oil can then be strained and safely stored in the fridge or freezer.

Alternatively, you can eliminate the risk of botulism by drying your herbs before steeping them. Using dry herbs you can cover them with oil and allow them to steep for about two weeks before straining them.

Herbal infused oils and vinegars are great, simple ways to store the season’s flavor. They also make excellent gifts for the culinary enthusiasts in your life!

Herbal Tinctures: Goldenrod

Just before we enjoy the beautiful colors of fall foliage, the land gives us its last summer show. Wildflowers like ironweed, Joe Pye weed, and goldenrod bloom in abundance. In some, we can find more than just beauty. Goldenrod is a wonderful medicinal herb that’s best harvested while in bloom.

Medicinal Usage

Goldenrod was first used in herbal medicine by Native Americans. Topically goldenrod has been used on toothaches, burns, sores, and infections. Internally it’s often used to treat digestive, respiratory, or urinary ailments. Recent research has shown that goldenrod teas and tinctures may effectively prevent and treat UTIs and kidney stones in particular.

Identifying Goldenrod

There dozens of species of goldenrod, 38 in Virginia alone! Identifying individual species can be challenging even for experts. However, all goldenrod species have similar properties and are used medicinally, so it’s okay if you’re unsure precisely what species you’ve got.

However, you do want to make sure you do have a goldenrod. Some similar-looking species like ragwort are toxic. Goldenrods have a woody stem. Though the leaf shape may differ from species to species, typically, leaves are tapered to the tip. Leaves are generally larger near the base of the plant. They often have a hairy or rough underside and have parallel veins. Their tiny yellow flowers grow on an inflorescence (like a plume) at the plant’s top. Many have multiple inflorescences.

If you’re unsure about identifying goldenrod, plan to forage with a knowledgeable friend. You can also check a wildflower field guide or the Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide for more detailed information.

Harvest

To harvest goldenrod, you want to catch it as the flowers have just started blooming. Select plants that look healthy and free of mildew and disease. Bring along a pair of scissors and snip off the plume of flowers. It’s okay to get some leaves. You can use them too.
Avoid harvesting an entire patch. Bees and other native wildlife rely on species like goldenrod as they get ready for winter.

Making Tincture

To make a tincture, all you’ll need is alcohol (at least 80 proof or 40%), a glass jar with a lid, and your goldenrod blooms. If you don’t have goldenrod near you, you can also purchase and use dried goldenrod. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can substitute it with vegetable glycerin.

Roughly chop up your blooms and place them in a glass jar. Then cover them with alcohol. Most people like to use vodka because it doesn’t have much flavor, but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand. I’m using rum for this tutorial.

Push the flowers down if needed. You don’t have to pack them in super tight, but you want to make sure that you completely cover them with alcohol; otherwise, they could mold.

Place the lid on and let your tincture sit in a cool, dark place for a minimum of 4 weeks before using. If you’re using dried goldenrod, shake your jar each day for the first couple of weeks to ensure the herbs absorb the alcohol and don’t just float on top. You can keep your tincture just like this for months, or you can strain out the blooms when you’re ready to use it.

You can use this method (the folk method) to tincture many herbs, including lemon balm, mint, echinacea, calendula, goldenseal, ginseng, and more.

Using Your Tincture

Always consult a physician before using your tinctures to treat any medical condition. Start with trying a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon before taking a lot. To make it taste a bit better, you can mix it with honey.

Making Tea

You can also make tea from fresh or dried goldenrod. About 2 tablespoons of fresh flowers or about 1 tablespoon of dried flowers will make a cup of tea. Steep your tea for 10-15 minutes.

Drying Goldenrod

To dry your goldenrod for later, you can spread roughly chopped blooms on a screen to air dry or dry them in a dehydrator on the herb setting. Store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight. It will last about a year.

 

***This article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a physician before using these to treat any conditions.***