One of the first recipes, and thanks to John Josslyn in 1672, to come about in the US, was a side dish calling for dicing ripe pumpkin and cooking it over the course of the day. When finished, butter, cream and spices were added. This sounds a bit like our modern preparation of mashed sweet potatoes if you think about it. In 1621 It wasn’t pumpkin pie that native Americans actually served it was pumpkin stew.

Being ripe and abundant in the fields, it became a project for the women of the 17th century to find ways to use pumpkins and make unique tasting dishes. Biologically it’s considered a fruit not a vegetable. Originating well over 7,000 years ago, pumpkins were a favorite among English colonist who knew about them before coming to the New World. Archaeologists first discovered the oldest known domesticated seeds in Central America and the Oaxaca Highlands of Mexico. They were found to be really different than the orange variety which we are most accustomed to nowadays.

As the white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by Native Indians clearly to be a prosperous staple in their diets, which were used in a variety of delicious goodness and useful artifacts. Finally when the time came that pumpkins became valued for their versatility, it eventually was cooked into pies, stews, tarts, soups and puddings. The flesh could be boiled, roasted, fried or mashed, even the seeds were dried, cooked and salted as a nutritious snack as well.

As I had mentioned in my last article, pumpkins are part of the family that signals the end of the season, these beauties from our gardens, tell us that autumn is definitely here.

 

Pumpkin fun facts for you:

In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, Washington Irving featured a mysterious jack-o-lantern in his 1819 short story which had many convinced led the association of carved pumpkins with Halloween brought to light in the 1950’s.

Having many historical achievements to his name, our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln turned into making Thanksgiving into a National Holiday. Though he was not the first government official to recognize it as a day of gratitude, President Lincoln insured that it be celebrated as a National day of thanks for years to come. Each President to this day, since Lincoln’s declaration has continued and observed with Americans, the many blessings that our land and country has to offer us.

In late 1899, it was stylish and fashionable to serve pumpkin pie, a trend that continues to this day with over 50 million pies baked each year.

Pumpkins are 90% water.

Pumpkins contain potassium and vitamin A and are gluten free.

The largest grown in the US, set a world record in 2018 to Steve Geddes of NH with his pumpkin weight of 2,528 pounds!

Each pumpkin has oxer 500 seeds.

Surprisingly, pumpkin pie is not Americans favorite No. 1 pie choice. 19% of all Americans prefer apple, and behind in the no. 2 slot, pumpkin with 13%.

Pumpkin “flavored” sales totaled a whopping $414 Million in 2017.

The Guinness Book of World Records, documented a team of pumpkin enthusiast from New Bremen, Ohio who surpass their own prior record (Oct. 8, 2005) of the largest pumpkin pie baked weighing 2,020#, with the new record set recently with a 20 Ft. in diameter pumpkin pie, weighing in at 3,699#. It used 1,212# of canned pumpkin, 233 dozen eggs, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 525# of Sugar, 7# of Salt, 14.5# of cinnamon that took over 8-9 hours to bake!

A joke: How do you mend a broken jack-o-lantern? With a pumpkin patch!

Happy Halloweening! As always you can send me your love, recipes, thoughts and ideas to represent you in my column at: [email protected]

Mr. Auger and Miss Jo are leaving this week for Florida. I had so much fun taking care of Miss Jo, cooking and cleaning the house for you all summer. I will miss you. See you next Spring Mr. B! Happy Pumpkining!

And as always, the last words~”Halloween is not only about putting on a costume, but it’s about finding the imagination and costume within ourselves.”~ Elvis Duran

The Recipes

Pumpkin and nutmeg adds richness~Often ignored as a main dish which is quite a shame! Here’s something that definitely tastes a little different than normal Alfredo sauce, but I think it’s the perfect way to warm up your pasta sauce for fall.

Prep: 10 min. Cook: 20 min. Yields: 4 Servings

Ravioli with pumpkin alfredo

1 pkg. (25oz.) frozen cheese ravioli

3 tbsp. all purpose flour

2 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 tbsp. Butter

2 cloves of garlic/minced

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

3/4 can of pumpkin puree

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1 tbsp. minced sage

A dash of fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 cup roasted or toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.) Boil water and cook ravioli as directed on package. Drain gently and set aside.

2.) In a medium bowl whisk together flour, chicken broth and milk.

3.) In a large skillet, melt butter/add garlic and cook gently until fragrant, about 35-65 seconds. Whisking together add the broth mixture.

4.) Continue whisking and add the pumpkin, parsley, sage, nutmeg and cheese. Continue whisking until blended and low boil. Cook uncovered until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.

5.) Gently stir the ravioli in the skillet until all covered.

6.) Pour into a large flat serving dish. Top with pine nut and chopped walnuts. Sprinkle some chopped parsley for presentation.

A fun way to change up your pumpkin dessert for your holiday menu.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Prep. 15-20 minutes yields 8 servings.

Should be refrigerated overnight, but needs at least 6 hours plus.

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup confectioners sugar

8 oz. mascarpone/softened

1 (15 oz.) pumpkin can

3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2-3 (3 oz.) pkg. of Ladyfingers

1 C. apple cider

1 pkg. gingerbread cookies, crushed

Directions:

1.) Pour whipping cream into a bowl and whip until gentle, soft peaks form.

2.) Gradually add sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

3.) Add the mascarpone, pumpkin and spices, beat on medium until smooth.

4.) Line bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with wax paper and secure it. (FYI…hint from the Scrappy Chef Graveyard book of tricks: I use binder clips, this will help you remove your cake onto a serving platter better).

5.) Place whole and halved Ladyfingers in bottom to cover it well, use whole Ladyfingers, to stand up all around the pan. (If they won’t stand skip to the next step and then try again.)

6.) Gently pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cider on top of the cookies. Pour 1/2 the pumpkin mix on top and smooth it out. *Remember before smoothing the pumpkin mixture, place the standing cookie in all around the inside edge.

7.) Sprinkle 1/3 C. gingerbread crumbs on top and repeat the layering…. .Ladyfingers, apple cider, pumpkin mix, gingerbread crumbs, smooth the top with a spatula and place remaining gingerbread crumbs on top.

8.) Cover with a plastic film and refrigerate preferably overnight, but at least 6-8 hours to set.

9.) To serve, run a knife dipped in warm water around the inside edge. Release the Springform and place on top of a cake platter. You can place some gingerbread cookies with mint leaves for decor. Keep refrigerated. Yummy!


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