From the Harvest: Pumpkin that's simply great
The pumpkin has so much more to offer than languishing on a doorstep as a jack-o'-lantern or being dumped unceremoniously into a pie for a cheap thrill at the end of Thanksgiving dinner.

The culinary uses for pumpkin are as limitless as your imagination. Fried, braised, steamed, roasted or even shaved ribbon-thin into salads, pumpkin can hold its own with any vegetable, working incredibly well in savory dishes.

Even after Halloween, the local farmers' markets will be overrun with these gorgeous gourds. Even ranging from the size of a baseball to a large beach ball, pumpkins are generally consistent in flavor. The seeds, on the other hand, become much woodier as the pumpkin gets larger, so if you are planning to roast them (and why wouldn't you?), use the seeds from a smaller pumpkin.

Give pumpkin a shot. You will be surprised at how easy, inexpensive and delicious it is to use in recipes.

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup is easy, cheap and helps fight the plummeting temperatures. This recipe makes enough to freeze some for the really cold months. Bacon adds smokiness while cream takes the edge off and helps make the soup silky. Roasting the pumpkin instead of simmering it raw in the soup deepens the final flavor.

Makes: 1 gallon of soup

1 large (about 10-pound) pumpkin, cut in half and seeded

6 slices of thick cut smoky bacon, chopped into small pieces

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 yellow onions, medium dice

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

8 cups chicken stock