Pumpkins and the resulting spice bars and bread


Halloween isn’t complete without jack-o’-lanterns, and jack-o’-lanterns can’t be made without pumpkins. Plenty of people are familiar with pumpkins thanks to their connection to Halloween and, of course, pumpkin pie, but few may know some of the more interesting aspects of this Halloween staple.

Indigenous to the western hemisphere, pumpkins have been grown in North America for 5,000 years. But while they might be indigenous to the west, pumpkins can be grown in the eastern hemisphere as well. According to contributors to the online pumpkin resource Pumpkin Nook, pumpkins are more popular in southern China than northern China.

History.com notes that pumpkin seeds do not have a long planting season. Ideally, seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. That gives pumpkin lovers precious little time do their planting. Once seeds are planted, pumpkin lovers must wait somewhere between 90 and 120 days for the pumpkins to grow. That makes October a great and popular time to do some picking.

Pumpkin weighoffs have become popular events in many communities. At such events, growers of giant pumpkins bring their largest ones to be weighed.

Pumpkins support heart health. Perhaps because they’re most often associated with pumpkin pie and pumpkin-flavored beer, the health benefits of pumpkins might go unnoticed. But pumpkins are rich in antioxidants that can help prevent damage to the eye, and the potassium found in pumpkins can have a positive impact on blood pressure. Pumpkins also are a great source of beta-carotene, and some studies have linked diets rich in beta-carotene with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

According to Fruits & Veggies — More Matters¨, a health initiative aiming to promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, pumpkins are fruits because they are products of the seed-bearing structures of flowering plants. Pumpkins are part of the gourd family, which means they’re closely related to fruits such as cucumbers, honeydew melons and cantaloupes.

Now, turn that pumpkin meat into delicious Halloween treats. (MC)

Perfectly pumpkin


ill your house with the aroma of fall with warm slices of this Pumpkin Loaf dolloped with butter.

Pumpkin Loaf

Nonstick cooking spray

4 eggs

3 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

2 cups sugar

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, chopped

Heat oven to 350 F.

Prepare loaf and muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In bowl, whisk eggs. Set aside.

In separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add whisked eggs and mix until blended.

Alternately add flour mixture and pumpkin puree to egg mixture, beating until blended. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. 

Pour batter into loaf and muffin pans. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. (Culinary.net)


old winter weather calls for comfort food like these delicious and moist pumpkin bars. Start your favorite movie and warm up your chilly day with a cozy blanket, a mug of hot chocolate and a plate of some of these incredible Spiced Pumpkin Bars. Find more dessert recipes at culinary.net.

Spiced Pumpkin Bars

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

4 eggs

15 oz can of pumpkin

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 cup cooking oil

3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Pecan halves (optional)

In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil on medium speed. Add the flour mixture; beat until well combined. If desired, stir in chopped pecans.

Spread batter into an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Bake in a 350° F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

In a medium mixing bowl beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar, beating until smooth.

Frost pumpkin bars. If desired, top with pecan halves. Cut into squares. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens. (Culinary.net). Find more recipes at culinary.net. 

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