It’s Pumpkin Time

October is here; time to visit the pumpkin patch. This annual trip in the crisp autumn air when my children were little holds many fond memories for me. With the kids grown and gone I now walk two blocks to the farmers market.

When my children were toddlers I made all of their baby food. Of course when pumpkin was in season that was one of the baby foods I made.  Pumpkins contain the antioxidant, beta-carotene and are rich in vitamin A so they are extremely good for you. My oldest son loved the pumpkin puree so much that with a little help from my grandmother ate so much he started turning orange.

The origins of pumpkin pie go back to seventeenth century American settlers. Early American colonists sliced off pumpkin tips; removed the seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes. This eventually evolved into a filling baked into a pie crust.

Did you know that Pumpkins are a fruit? Like tomatoes, they grow on a vine but they are not a vegetable.

The self-proclaimed “pumpkin capital” of the world is Morton, Illinois? This is where you’ll find the home of the Libby Corporation’s pumpkin industry. Pumpkin, fresh or canned is great in more than just pumpkin pie.

Below you will find the recipe for making Pumpkin puree, a  great start to making your homemade goodies.  Also included is a recipe for Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars courtesy of Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin.

Pumpkin Puree:

2   3 1/2-pound pie pumpkins

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cut pumpkins in 4×4 pieces. Remove seeds and strings. Arrange pieces in a single layer, skin side up, in a foil lined baking pan.

3. Bake covered, 1 hour or until tender. Let cool until you are able to handle. Scoop pulp from rind. Place pulp in a blender or food processor.

4.  Cover and blend or process until smooth.

Note: You can transfer to freezer bags and store in refrigerator for 3 days or freeze up to 6 months. Makes 5 cups puree.

Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars

Makes 4 dozen
Prep: 20 minutes
Baking: 25 minutes

Source: Libby’s Pumpkin

2     cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4  teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2     teaspoons baking powder
1     teaspoon baking soda
1     cup granulated sugar
1/3  cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2  cup firmly packed brown sugar
2     large eggs
2     large egg whites
1     can (15 ounces) Libby’s 100%
Pure Pumpkin
1     cup finely shredded carrot
Cream Cheese Topping (recipe

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda in small bowl. Beat granulated sugar, butter and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, pumpkin and carrot; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; mix well. Spread into prepared pan. Drop teaspoonfuls of Cream Cheese Topping over batter; swirl mixture with spoon.
BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
For Cream Cheese Topping:
COMBINE 4 ounces softened light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon milk in small mixer bowl until thoroughly blended.

Mother Nature has made a fresh crop of pumpkins this year, so you can enjoy plenty of pumpkin this season in your favorite traditional recipes.

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