Even though it is a hallowed tradition, the standard pumpkin pie recipe isn’t all this gourd is capable of.

Its orange flesh has a mild, sweet flavor, lending it to a variety of dishes. Roasted pumpkin seeds or purchased pepita seeds are useful as well. Farmers markets are brimming with a variety of pumpkins to pick from and purchase.

In general, the smaller-sized pumpkins will be more tender and better for cooking. Save the bigger ones for jack-o'-lanterns. Choose pumpkins that are free from blemishes and heavy for their size. Not only is pumpkin a tasty ingredient from soup to dessert, it is a healthy source of vitamin A.

I Eat La.: Recipes for Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Dip, Trail Mix

All you need are two medium pumpkins to equal about five cups of pulp. To prepare fresh pumpkin, peel it, cut it into cubes and boil until tender; or cut it in half, bake it, scrape the pulp, then toss the peel. Mash your pumpkin then drain in a sieve or cheese cloth. You can store pumpkin in the freezer for at least six months.

I have carved out some of my favorite pumpkin recipes to share with you today. This spicy pumpkin bread will fill your home with smells of the season. I’m hoping this lightly sweetened pumpkin dip will keep me and any guests out of the candy until the trick-or-treating starts. Later, I plan to make this trail mix to keep me going through the holiday season.

I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Halloween evening!

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Reach her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.