apples, pumpkins, squash, and autumn leaves

Nothing brings back memories of autumn when I was a child the way that Grandma Jenny’s fried pumpkin does. The flavor — it was just outstanding!

Grandma would cut the pumpkin into slices (following the natural ridges) and remove the rind. She would put vegetable oil in the pan, add the pumpkin slices, and patiently stand at the stove with her free hand on her hip while the pumpkin fried. Because the slices were thick, she kept the heat low so they’d cook all the way through.

It took some time to fry that pumpkin, but let me tell you, it was time well spent! After it was cooked and caramelized, Grandma topped it with tomato sauce, and it was a taste of heaven. We could hardly wait for it to be finished; we would eat it searing hot.

This is an easy, and yet spectacular, side dish for fall. It uses seasonal produce that adults and children alike can enjoy. For a sweet variation on Grandma’s recipe, you could add maple syrup and cinnamon. I’ve also seen savory recipes that call for cracked pepper and bacon. If a whole pumpkin is more than your household can eat, avoid food waste and use a small squash instead. It’s just as good!

Apples are another seasonal favorite from my childhood. We liked our caramel-dipped apples and warm apple cider. But my favorite way to enjoy an apple was baked by Mom.

Mom would clean and core the apples and then add butter, sugar, and a little cinnamon to the inside. Then she baked them until they were soft and creamy but still held together by the skin. It was a wonderful warm treat that was perfect for a chilly fall afternoon.

So, make use of all of the wonderful abundance that fall has to offer! Try my grandma’s and my mom’s recipes for pumpkins and apples, or find some new recipes of your own. Happy fall — enjoy the season!

This post was originally published on October 16, 2019.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.