The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is only the beginning of the onslaught of pumpkin products that fall brings. And yes, we get it: you want to be festive. You want to wash your hair with pumpkin pie shampoo and then frolic in a pumpkin patch while eating pumpkin pie.
There are rules for using pumpkins. Rules that ensure you don't get tossed into a vat of white chocolate pumpkin latte mix (by us). Here are the pumpkin products we endorse and despise, as well as a few cooking (and carving) tips that will get you through Pumpkin Season 2K13.
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1. While I support the use of pumpkin and its accompanying spices in recipes, I am very firmly against it in things other than baked goods. Like Pringles (seriously, why?). And, yes, pumpkin spice lattes. -Joanna Sciarrino, assistant editor.
2. Canned pumpkin is 10000% acceptable. The texture of pumpkin purée can't be beat. Let go of your epicurean pride and embrace Libby's. Libby's for life. -Alison Roman, senior associate food editor
3. Whether you're carving that pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern or using its flesh in your cooking, always roast the seeds! They're the best snack, and throwing them away should be punishable by law. -Alison Roman
4. Pumpkin beer is fine by me. As we experienced last year, though, there are some really bad ones out there, so be careful. -Alison Roman
5. Don't use a pre-blended pumpkin pie spice. This gourd loves cardamom and allspice, bu they're almost never included in the blends you can buy at the supermarket. Plus, you can go hot and heavy with the spices you prefer. -Dawn Perry, senior food editor
6. Nothing cleans out a pumpkin better then a metal serving spoon, and a paring knife is the best for pumpkin carving detail work. Trust me, I won a pumpkin carving contest with those tools. The design? The Golden Gate Bridge. So, yeah. -Dawn Perry
7. I LOVE brown butter and pumpkin in both sweet and savory applications. It works beautifully with brown sugar and warm spices, but also with sage and pecorino. Yum. -Dawn Perry
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8. The only pumpkin-flavored craze that I think deserves the hype is the pumpkin pie concrete that they make at Shake Shack. I used to be the general manager there, and I had never seen people go so insane for anything. It was just pumpkin pie, out of a box, mixed into frozen custard with whipped cream on top. But then I tried one. Oh man, it was no joke. -Carla Lalli-Music, food and features editor
9. If you do choose to use fresh pumpkin, boil it. Seriously. Just boil it, with nothing else, and eat the flesh. The best pumpkin I ever ate was prepared this way: cooked slowly in plain water in a rice cooker at a tiny noodle restaurant in Chengdu, China. It was impossibly sweet, the flesh held together just right, dissolving with every bite, and needed no embellishment. I've dreamed of eating it that way ever since. -Matt Gross, editor, Bonappetit.com
10. Pumpkin cocktails. Just no. -Brad Leone, test kitchen assistantSEE MORE FROM BON APPETIT:
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