Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkins--More than You Want to Know

Pumpkin pie! Spiced pumpkin rolls. Pumpkin bread.
Pumpkin cheesecake. 

It's that time of year when people all over the country are cooking their favorite pumpkin recipes. While our minds are on the fruit, I thought it would be fun to share some pumpkin facts and a delicious recipe. 

These fascinating Pumpkin Facts are from the University of Illinois Extension Office:

  • Total U.S. pumpkin production in 2008 in major pumpkin-producing states was valued at $141 million.
  • Total production of pumpkins by major pumpkin-producing states in 2008: 1.1 billion pounds
  • The top pumpkin production states are Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
  • Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing with a small percentage grown for ornamental sales through you-pick farms, farmers’ market, and retail sales.
  • Around 90 to 95% of the processed pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.
  • Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.

  • Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  • Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies, and bread.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  • Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called cucurbits.
  • Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds.
  • The world’s largest pumpkin weighs 2,032 pounds, which is about the same as a Clydesdale horse. The pumpkin took 105 days to grow.

  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
  • The name pumpkin originated from “pepon” – the Greek word for “large melon.”
  • The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Pumpkins are fruit.
  • Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.

  • In colonial times, Native Americans roasted long strips of pumpkin on an open fire.
  • Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices, and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
  • Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.
  • Native Americans called pumpkins “isqoutm squash.”
  • Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.

I recently tried a new recipe for Amish Pumpkin Bars that was really yummy. Here it is so you can find out for yourself

Amish Pumpkin Bars

· 1 cup oil
· 4 eggs
· 2 cups pumpkin
· 1 teaspoon soda
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1 cup brown sugar
· 2 teaspoons cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· 2 cups flour
· ½ teaspoon salt

1. Mix together ingredients until smooth consistency.
2. Pour into greased 9 X 13 baking dish.
3. Then bake at 350 for 22 - 28 minutes.
4. Frosting: Beat together ¾th stick of oleo, 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 cups powdered sugar.
5. Beat until right consistency to spread. Add a little milk, if needed.
One of my boys adores pumpkin pie slathered with whipped cream. I much prefer French Silk, but that's another topic. Does your family have a favorite pumpkin dessert? Feel free to share the recipe. 

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is a best-selling author of more than 45 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Booksellers Best Fiction Novel Award. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series, placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.

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  1. Informative and intersting facts about pumpkins. Thank you for sharing the Amish Pumpkin Bars recipe. Yum. One recipe I like is Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. It's delicious with a cup of coffee.

  2. My mom likes cranberries. I may have to look up that recipe.

  3. Those pumpkin bars look delicious! Fun article.

  4. Thanks for the post on the pumpkin! This year, apparently, there has been a banner crop, at least in Maine. But I remember just a few years ago, pumpkins didn't have a good year and canned pumpkin was hard to find!