It’s that pumpkin time again!

This past weekend was a wonderful one for me, it began with my leaving Thursday morning and heading to Devine. The reason for this was because my youngest granddaughter and her precious six-month old son from way up in the Texas Panhandle were coming in as she had classes in San Antonio and I was going to get to help take care of that darling little boy. I saw him when he was six-weeks old and he is such a sweetie. He is good-natured and doesn’t cry unless he is hungry or uncomfortable. She and I took him to visit his cousins in the next town, and while he is too young to play with these little boys, who are already at the walking, talking, staying busy as can be age, he watched as they played. It won’t be long until he is down on the floor with them.
Later in the evening we all got together for dinner at my son and daughter-in-law’s home and got to do a lot of visiting and catching up on family. On Friday my daughter-in-law and I went to San Antonio to meet with my granddaughter and have lunch with her and a couple of friends, at Casa Rio on the River Walk. I had not been there in more years than I can count and the food was as good as I remembered, with the weather cooperating to give us a beautiful day! My whole weekend was awesome as I got to play with, hug and love on that darling baby boy, and have lots of visiting with the other two little boys and their parents. She had classes through Saturday and one of my other daughters came by and visited and she got to meet the baby. Everything was so much fun and I had such a wonderful time, and then it was Sunday and time to come home! I hated to leave, but…all good things have to end at some point. The trip home was great, almost no traffic and definitely no road work.
For the past several weeks all I’ve seen in stores and on FB is pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins, so I decided to join the fun and tell y’all a little bit about pumpkins. The information about the number of acres and such is a little outdated and may not be accurate, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Since I was unable to find the information about pumpkins that I already had, I had to check on a website, and was able to find over 12 million sites concerning pumpkins with information on how to grow them, what type of seeds to plant and what to feed them, as well as a site with recipes.
Pumpkins, squash, gourds, muskmelons and watermelons are all members of the vine crop called “Curcubits”. Their name is derived from their genus classification, which is “Curcurbita.” The name pumpkin originated from “pepon” – the Greek word for “large melon”.
According to an article in the business section of an old edition of San Antonio Express News, I gleaned the following information: (The name of the state is followed by the acres*), Top Pumpkin-Producing States – Illinois – 12,296; Michigan – 7,414; Pennsylvania – 7,402; New York – 6,782; California – 6,384; Ohio – 5,564; Indiana – 4,242; Wisconsin – 4,023; Tennessee – 3,742; Texas – 3,333. Number of acres harvested based on an earlier Census of Agriculture. Source: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
Now, back to information from the website: Pumpkin facts: 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, breads and cakes; in early Colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling; pumpkins are a fruit; pumpkins are 90 percent water; eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October; colonists sliced off pumpkin tops; removed the seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and this is the origin of pumpkin pie.
Here are a couple of recipes from my files, and also a little pumpkin trivia.
Pumpkin Trivia
The pumpkin is a??
A. vegetable; B. Fruit; C. Flower; D. Carriage for a princess.
2. Where were pumpkins first thought to have been grown?
A. Europe; B. United States; C. Mexico; D. Africa
3. In addition to pumpkin, which of the following belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family?
A. Cucumbers; B. Cauliflower; C. Broccoli; D. Tomatoes
4. What did the largest known pumpkin in the world weigh? (this could have changed since I first got this information)
A. 907 pounds; B. 3,211 pounds; C. 1,469 pounds; D. 1,385 pounds.
5. Pumpkins were once recommended as:
A. A cure for the common cold, B. A way to remove freckles; C. A moisturer for women’s skin; D. A helmet for warriors.
Spicy Pumpkin Pound Cake
2½ cups cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
4 eggs, at room temperature, separate
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Bourbon whiskey or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
Powdered sugar for dusting the cake
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in lower third of oven. Spray a 10-inch tube pan or a 12-cup Bundt cake pan with vegetable spray and set aside.
2. In large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
3. Separate eggs. Place yolks in a small bowl and whites in a large mixing bowl.
4. In another bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar a half-cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in Bourbon whiskey or vanilla and continue beating for about 3 minutes.
5. Beat the yolks with a fork then add to sugar mixture, one-third at a time. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down sides of bowl as you mix.
6. Add pumpkin puree and beat until smooth. With a wooden spoon, stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Continue adding flour in two batches. Set aside.
7. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold whites into pumpkin batter.
8. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Gently spread batter evenly around pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate. Allow to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
A wonderful lady who used to live in Devine gave me this recipe for pumpkin bars. She and her husband had owned a bakery in Michigan and it was a recipe they had used in their business. When I visited her, she would serve these with a cup of coffee while we talked!
Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin (1 can 15-oz size)
Mix eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin together and set aside.
In separate bowl combine the following:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon EACH cloves, nutmeg and ginger
Stir together and add to first mixture, mixing well. Pour into 9×12 pan and bake until done at 350ºF. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting if desired.
Pumpkin Trivia answers: 1-B, 2-C, 3-A, 4-C and 5-B.