One of my favorite fall foods is pumpkin. The word pepon is Greek for large melon. Pompon is the French term that the British changed to pumpion. Eventually, pumpion evolved into pumpkin by the colonists that came to America.
This squash-like fruit is primarily grown in Illinois. Illinois raises 95% of the U.S. pumpkin crop that is grown for further processing. 85% of processed pumpkin products are created by Nestle. Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California are also primary pumpkin producing states.
Almost all of the pumpkin is edible! Ripe pumpkins can be boiled, baked, seamed, or roasted. Small green pumpkins can be prepared and eaten similar to squash or zucchini. Roasted seeds are often eaten as a snack and the Chinese eat pumkin leaves in soups or as a cooked vegetable. Pumpkin flowers are popular in the southwestern States. They are enjoyed battered and deep fat fried or as a beautiful garnish.
Pumpkin is not just for human consumption! Canned pumpkin’s high fiber content can promote healthy digestion in dogs and cats. Veterinarians also endorse it as a dietary supplement for digestive upset.
I also read that raw pumpkin is an excellent feed supplement for chickens. When the weather turns cold hens don’t lay eggs as consistently as they do when the weather is nice and pumpkin can aid in maintaining egg production.
If you are a fan of pumpkin find a festival or farmer’s patch near you and enjoy the versatility of America’s traditional Thanksgiving fruit.
Here is another wonderful quick bread recipe from J’s Auntie L.
1 1/2 C. Sugar – I use 1 C. Honey
1/2 C. Oil – I use Applesauce
1 C. Pumpkin
1 3/4 C. Flour – I use 1 C. White Whole Wheat Flour and 3/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cloves
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ginger can be substituted in case you run out of or do not have one of the other spices.
1/3 C. Water
1/2 C. Raisins – Sometimes I use Crasisins
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl add sugar to oil, then add eggs, pumpkin and spices. Mix well.
Mix in flour, water and raisins.
For muffins bake 20-25 minutes or until done when tested with a tooth pick.
For 1 large or 2 small loaves; bake 1 hour.
What is your favorite way to use a pumpkin?