Plentiful Pumpkins

Plentiful+Pumpkins

Paige Ferry, Advertising Manager

 Did you know these 16 facts about Pumpkins?

  • The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, pepon, which means a “large melon.”
  • Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  • Pumpkins are actually a fruit. Many people think it should be our national fruit.
  • Pumpkin is also a squash; a member of Curcurbita family.
  • The yellow-orange flowers that bloom on the pumpkin vine are edible.
  • Pumpkin seeds taste great roasted and contain medicinal properties.
  • Native Americans grew and ate pumpkins and their seeds long before the Pilgrims reached this continent. Pilgrims learned how to grow and prepare pumpkins from the Native Americans.
  • Pumpkin was most likely served at the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in 1621.
  • The earliest pumpkin pie made in America was quite different from the pumpkin pie we enjoy today. Pilgrims and early settlers made pumpkin pie by hollowing out a pumpkin, filling the shell with milk, honey and spices and baking it.
  • Early settlers dried pumpkins shells, cut it into strips and wove it into mats.
  • Pumpkin has been prepared in a variety of ways from soups to stews to desserts since the immigration of the first European settlers.
  • The ‘Pumpkin Capital of the World’ is Morton, Illinois. Home of Libby’s pumpkin industry.
  • The state of Illinois grows the most pumpkins. It harvests about 12,300 acres of pumpkins annually.
  • The latest U.S. record (2019) for the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed in at 2,517.5 pounds by Karl Haist of Clarence Center, New York.
  • Pumpkins were once considered a remedy for freckles and snakebites.
  • Natural medicine practitioners have proven that consuming pumpkin seeds reduces the risk of prostate disorders in men.

 

Pumpkin Based Recipes


No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients (For the Crust):

1 1/2 c. finely crushed gingersnaps

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

5 tbsp. butter, melted

 

Ingredients (For Filling):

1 c. heavy cream

2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree

1 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

FOR TOPPING

Whipped cream 

Roughly crushed gingersnaps

 

Directions:

 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine crushed gingersnaps, sugar, and melted butter until mixture resembles wet sand. Pour into a 8” springform pan and pat into an even layer. 
  2. In a medium bowl, beat heavy cream to stiff peaks. 
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and beat until no lumps remain. Add powdered sugar and beat again until no lumps remain. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat until incorporated. Add whipped cream and fold in until just combined. Pour batter over crust and smooth top with an offset spatula. 
  4. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. 
  5. Serve with whipped cream and crushed gingersnaps.

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (purchased or homemade)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup neutral oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 12 muffin cups to a standard muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice with the baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, applesauce, neutral oil, and vanilla.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms
  5. Use a mixer or electric hand mixer to combine cream cheese and maple syrup: beat it on high until fluffy.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Dollop a mounded tablespoon of maple cream cheese onto the center of each muffin. Using a clean spoon, press down the cream cheese until it sinks and batter slightly rises over edges of the cream cheese, but there’s still an exposed circle of cheese at the top.
  7. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the muffin portion. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins and place them on a cooling rack. Cool 1 hour until room temperature. Enjoy or refrigerate up to 1 week (these muffins do not freeze well

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Review

I made the pumpkin cream cheese muffins to review. The muffins turned out great, however, the cream cheese center calls for maple syrup which I highly don’t recommend since it added a weird taste to the muffins. The pumpkin section of the muffin was delicious and totally worth a try. I recommend doing a regular cream cheese filling for these muffins without adding the maple syrup.

 

Sources:

 

Gore, Makinze. “No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Avoids The Unnecessary Oven.” Delish, 19 Aug. 2020, https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a28497825/easy-no-bake-pumpkin-cheesecake-recipe/.

 

“Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.” A Couple Cooks, 12 Nov. 2020, https://www.acouplecooks.com/pumpkin-cream-cheese-muffins/.

 

Tukua, Deborah. “16 Little Known Pumpkin Facts.” Farmers’ Almanac, 8 Oct. 2007, https://www.farmersalmanac.com/little-known-pumpkin-facts-2186.