Check out our favorite fresh pumpkin recipes, plus some must-read cooking tips.

 Greg DuPree

1. Beer-Battered Pumpkin with Dipping Sauce

Turn your pumpkin into an irresistible tempura-style appetizer with a light and crispy beer batter coating. Our creamy Greek yogurt-buttermilk dip and some fried sage leaves are a delicious pairing with the pumpkin.Recipe: Beer-Battered Pumpkin with Dipping Sauce

2. Pear and Pumpkin Tart

This colorful tart, topped with pumpkin, pears, and pomegranate seeds, tastes every bit as good as it looks. Serve it as a light supper, or as a festive fall appetizer.Recipe: Pear and Pumpkin Tart

3. Stuffed Pumpkin with Cranberry-Raisin Bread Pudding

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/stuffed-pumpkin-with-cranberry-raisin-bread-puddingNow here’s a special occasion-worthy way of serving pumpkin. A small sugar or pie pumpkin makes an elegant single-serving vessel for our decadent bread pudding topped with a creamy lemon-vanilla sauce.Recipe: Stuffed Pumpkin with Cranberry-Raisin Bread Pudding

4. Pumpkin-Acorn Squash Soup

Two types of squash combine to make a soup with loads of flavor and a smooth, velvety texture.Recipe: Pumpkin-Acorn Squash Soup

5. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you’re looking for creative ways to put all those seeds to use, check out our favorite sweet and savory recipes.Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds  

Here are three essential tips for cooking and baking fresh pumpkins:

1. Pick the right pumpkin

Some varieties of pumpkins are better suited for carving than cooking. Smaller, rounder varieties like sugar or pie pumpkins are an easy size and shape to work with and their flesh is sweeter and less watery.

2. Roast your pumpkin

If you’re making fresh pumpkin puree, don’t worry about removing the pumpkin’s thick outer skin. Cut up the pumpkin into chunks, as you would with any squash, and roast the chunks until they are tender. Then scrape the roasted flesh away from the peels and discard the peels.

3. Peel your pumpkin (safely)

If you are making a recipe that calls for whole pieces of pumpkin, not a puree, you will need to remove the skin. Softening the pumpkin makes this job a little easier. You can do this in the microwave or oven. Cut the pumpkin in half and microwave each half until you can easily pierce the skin with a paring knife. Or, place both halves of your pumpkin skin-side down on a foil-lined jelly roll pan and add a little water. Bake at 400 ˚ until the skin is tender, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a peeler or paring knife.