Big, bountiful pumpkins are a surefire sign of the season. Once autumn’s crisp leaves begin to fall, you can spot them perched on porches all over town. But beyond décor, menus across the city also began experimenting with this popular ingredient. It’s believed that the first pumpkins were harvested for food in Central America more than 7,500 years ago, according to PBS. The first recorded American pumpkin recipe dates back to 1670, when New England Rarities Discovered published a recipe on how to cook pumpkin in butter and spices. And of course, the pumpkin spice latte has been a cultural craze since 2003, when Starbucks adopted it to its national menu. For those who love to gorge on this gourd, here are five local dishes to try.
By far the most popular way to consume this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit), there are a myriad of options for this seasonal treat. Pumpkin pie can be traced back to the mid-1800s, when sweet applications became wildly popular. Petaluma Pie Company’s comes with a flakey crust and not-too-sweet filling. Get a slice or a whole pie for your holiday feast.
Where to find it: Petaluma Pie Company, 125 Petaluma Blvd. N.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Creamy meets spicy in this seasonal special. This cool treat somehow develops a warm flavor when mixed with pumpkin, nutmeg and other fall flavors. Try it in a waffle cone for a frozen pumpkin pie flavor. Petaluma Creamery Store serves a plain pumpkin, while Mariposa Ice Creamery jazzes it up with a pumpkin cheesecake flavor. Or head over to Fourth & Sea for a deliciously pumpkin milkshake.
Where to find it: Petaluma Creamery, 711 Western Ave. Fourth & Sea, 101 4th St. Mariposa’s sold at Penngrove Market.
A steaming plate of pumpkin curry is a perfect way to combat any winter chill. The tender squash in a spicy sauce warms from the inside out. This dish is traditionally made with Japanese pumpkins, which are smaller and striped with green and yellow unlike their American counterpart.
Where to find it: Lemongrass Thai Cuisine, 109 N. McDowell Blvd.
If you smother your pumpkin pie in whipped cream, it’s probably time to try pumpkin strudel. It’s much creamier and more decadent than pie filling, wrapped into a buttery, flakey pastry dough. Simply Strudel now offers a sweet pumpkin cheese flavor.
Where to find it: Simply Strudel, 600 Petaluma Blvd. S.
It’s an obvious pairing. Pumpkin spices are mostly mirrored in a graham crackers, which gets mixed with butter for the ultimate crumbly crust. Taste the homemade option at Mikes at the Crossroads to round out your pumpkin sweet tooth.
Where to find it: Mikes at the Crossroads, 840 Petaluma Blvd. N.