Pumpkins are the harbinger of the harvest season, appearing every year as the first sign of autumn. Did you know that the word “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon,” meaning “large melon”?
Pumpkins can be grown on every continent except Antarctica, and the United States produces about 1.5 billion pounds of them each year. A Wisconsin farmer grew the largest pumpkin ever recorded. He used seaweed, cow manure, and fish emulsion to grow his pumpkin, which weighed a total of 1,810 pounds and was the size of a dumpster!
Celebrate National Pumpkin Day by carving a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Don’t forget to bake the tasty seeds for a healthy, autumn snack!
Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Pumpkins are 90% water.
If your pumpkin shrivels up, soak it in water overnight to rehydrate it.
Pumpkins were once used for removing freckles and treating snake bites.
Pumpkins have high levels of lutein, alpha carotene, and beta-carotene that are responsible for the orange coloring and for transforming vitamin A in the body.
Pumpkin pulp can relieve burns.
Pumpkin flowers are edible.
Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, removed the seeds, and filled them with milk, spices and honey. The milk-filled pumpkin was then placed in hot ashes to bake. This is the origin of our pumpkin pie.
Native to the Western Hemisphere, Central America specifically, pumpkins were originally used as a food crop.
Settlers to the New World sent pumpkin seeds back to their English relatives where the new seeds and fruit rapidly became popular.
During the Halloween season, about 99% of the pumpkins grown for domestic consumption are earmarked for the sole purpose of carving.
In Ireland, the original jack-o’-lanterns were made of hollowed-out turnips. Turnips were plentiful throughout the British Isles.
Morton, IL is the self-declared pumpkin capital of the world. It is the home of the Libby® corporation’s pumpkin industry, owned byNESTLÉ® USA. The pumpkin packing facility prepares 90% of all processed and canned pumpkin consumed in the United States.
Yield: 3 loves (16 slices each), approximately 48 servings
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
3 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
1 cup water
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
Additional chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 8×4-in. loaf pans. In a small bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and water until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, pie spice, soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins and dates.
Pour half of the batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Spoon filling over batter. Cover filling completely with remaining batter.
Bake 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in bread portion comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap in foil; refrigerate until serving.
Just before serving, if desired, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over bread; sprinkle with walnuts. Yield: 3 loaves (16 slices each).
1 slice equals 189 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 132 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Originally published as Pumpkin Swirl Bread in Country Woman Christmas Annual 1997, p19