Peak Season: Pumpkins

Plus, a recipe for long-roasted pumpkin from Girasol’s CJ Jacobson.

Around town this month we’ve been spotting orange globes: dancing on haystacks at the grocery store, slaughtered into faces on doorsteps, scraped clean and baked into pies at bakeries. It’s hard to miss the fact that it’s pumpkin season. Halloween is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean the end of the season for this hardy squash, its meaty flesh, its seeds, or its fragrant oil. Find heirloom varieties of pumpkin, sugary versions for pies, and squatter types at every farmers market in the city. McGrath Family Farms has some beautiful round ones with tall stems this weekend at Santa Monica’s markets, but you can also go to their farm and pick your own until October 31. Windrose Farm at the Hollywood Market on Sunday has a wide range of pumpkins and squash in colors from emerald green to vermillion.

In Beverly Grove, pastry chef Roxana Jullapat (Cook’s County) is experimenting with pumpkin bagels (“I can’t find pumpkin bagels around town, and they’re my favorite, so I’m making my own!”). And in Studio City, chef CJ Jacobson (Girasol) is roasting pumpkins and serving them with a browned-butter buttermilk sauce as a side dish. We find that topped with a scoop of ice cream, it works perfectly as a dessert as well. Here’s his recipe, adapted for the home cook. It will make your kitchen smell like pie—no pesky crust-making required.

Long Roasted Pumpkin, recipe by CJ Jacobson at Girasol in Studio City

1 medium to large orange cooking pumpkin
3 cups buttermilk
½ cup condensed milk
3 Tablespoons browned butter (to make, heat 5 Tablespoons butter in a pan until toasted brown)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons walnuts, toasted, chopped


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat buttermilk until reduced by half, purée with condensed milk and browned butter, and keep warm.
  3. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Roast cut pumpkin for 2-3 hours at 350 F, until very tender.
  5. Cover with milk and butter mixture. Roast for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, top with walnuts, serve warm. in Peak Season at