Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin! The Season's Trappings....

Pumpkins are a very rewarding vegetable for me to grow, as they are almost impervious to any pest in my backyard...once the seed has sprouted, it quickly becomes 30 feet of nonstop vigorous green until one day the glorious blossoms appear. Then the wildlife begins.

All summer the bees are drawn.

They are enamoured with those huge intensely pumpkin yellow blossoms and travel blossom to blossom all over my garden.

Bees of all shapes and sizes.

Huge black ones, tiny little ones and substantial furry honey bees all living together peacefully hovering about 8 inches following the path of the vines.

Watching the pumpkin change from deep blackish green to orange is an appreciable thing as well. 

 Delicious colors and textures forming to make the beauty of the fruit.

We planted sugar babies this year they are just big enough for about 3 cups of pumpkin puree, and I think they are just about perfect.

But...why all this waxing poetic about the pumpkin?
Yup you guessed it...Muffins!
This recipe is so simple I had to post it,

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
2.In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until smooth. Spoon equal amounts of batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Find it here

But here is the recipe I made last night. It turned out very well and I used fresh pumpkin. Here's how I did it. I microwaved the pumpkin for 3 minutes just as it grew out of the garden stem and all. Then I took the pumpkin and poked a few knife holes in it, I was afraid it would explode, then I microwaved it for three more minutes. Then I cut the stem off. (It is a beauty, and I want to try to use it in a prim stuffed pumpkin project I have in mind). I returned it to the microwave and blasted it for three more minutes.

Then I took it and quartered it and removed the seeds and pulp (I used rubber gloves because it is rather hot by now) and put it in the micro again for the last 5 minutes covered -to steam a little. Then it was ready to peel (so easy to peel now, the peel is a hard shell that flakes off rather than peels off)

Fresh pumpkin is really fibrous so I food processed the pumpkin with the eggs sugar and oil in the recipe and it turned into the most amazing custard like stuff that you can eat with a spoon... the cook has some privileges you know... and then I could mix the batter by hand.

The end result was worth the effort for sure!

Ah, the finer things in life!

From wiki regarding pumpkins and Halloween:

Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time encompassing customs of medieval holy days as well as contemporary cultures. The souling practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips, became adapted into the making of jack-o'-lanterns. In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.

The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. (laughing..says who?) Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their doorstep after dark. The American tradition of carving pumpkins preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

So there ya have it! When you see folks with pumpkins on their porches be thankful that we are still not in the times where we compuslively carved our root vegetables so as to ward off evil spirits that wished to inhabit our bodies for the year!

I'd rather be baking pumpkin bread...

Or eating...
(one to try)



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