All About Pumpkins

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From assorted versions of pumpkin pies to martinis & face scrubs. I’ve been reading many interesting pumpkin recipes of late. It’s the season, no? I thought that it might be fun to dig up some information on the Great Pumpkin.

Charley Brown characters in the pumpin patch
It’s the Great Pumpkin Season!

What they are

A pile of pumpkins
Just like people, pumpkins come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Like their human counterparts, some make great pies and treats, and others – not so much.

Pumpkins are native to the Americas and are actually a type of squash that are considered to be a fruit by many sources, although this seems to be a debatable fact. They can weigh from less then a pound to over a ton. They come in colors from white, beige, green, yellow, red and any combination in between. Their shapes can be oval, round, crooked and stacked with wart like bumps and large humps.

The Pilgrims’ Pumpkin Pie

A pumpkin with it\'s top cut off
Pumpkin Without the Pie, as shown from Bustle.

The pie that that the Pilgrims prepared for Thanksgiving wasn’t made with the flaky pie pastry that we long for at our holiday meal. The pumpkin was the crust. Pumpkins were cut open from the top (as we do for jack o’ lanterns) then hollowed out.

A mixture of cream, eggs, honey or maple syrup and spices were then poured into the pumpkins cavity. The cover was placed back on the the top and the pumpkin was set in hot ashes to cook. When served, the Pilgrims and Native Americans had something that tasted very similar to the pumpkin pie which we enjoy today- consider it a deconstructed pumpkin pie.

If it Says Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the Label Label Label...

A slice of pumpkin pie
This classic recipe has been on LIBBY’S® Pumpkin labels since 1950

Libby’s has their own high bred pumpkin that they use. Aa a matter of fact, 80% of the production of pumpkins in the US comes from Illinois. Libby is responsible for nearly 90% of all canned pumpkin product in North America.

How to make homemade pumpkin filling

A bunch of pumpkins
Want to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, look for sugar pumpkins.

If you’d like to make your own pumpkin filling, choose a 3 to 10 pound pumpkin that has sweet, smooth flesh,and is generous in flavor. Sometimes labeled as Sugar Pumpkin or cooking pumpkins, there are many names to choose from. Most have a high yield for their size and lower moisture content and are stringless.

As a matter of fact, those large pumpkins, usually 10 to 25 pounds which are are used for Jack O’ Lanterns, although edible, are watery, bland and full of stringy guts. They are pretty much a waste of time and effort for cooking, except for the seeds.

More information

A bunch of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be quite yummy and they are incredibly simple to prepare.

  • Just rinse, pat dry and spread on a buttered or oiled baking sheet with a light sprinkle of salt.
  • Bake at 300* for about 1/2 an hour.
  • Give them a stir, put back in the oven & give them another 20 minutes or so until golden and crispy.
Two young boys carving a pumpkin
What kid doesn’t love pumpkins?

You don’t have to stop there, though. You can sprinkle with

  • granulated garlic
  • curry, brown sugar
  • cinnamon or
  • anything you might have a hankering for.
  • Enjoy!
A plate of pumpkin seeds

The BEST Pumpkin Pie Filling

Finally, if you don’t feel like making your own filling for pumpkin pie, don’t fret. One of our best foodie friends and the lady behind Cooking on a Budget, just happens to have one of the most popular pumpkin pie recipes this side of Plymouth Rock. This is a pumpkin pie filling that you are sure to love!

a pumpkin pie
The BEST Pumpkin Pie filling from Cooking on a Budget.

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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    1. I have fun just looking at them all. We have a local farmers market that’s open all week and the have a great selection.

  1. Such a great post on pumpkins! Perfect for the season. Particularly love the info on picking out a pumpkin and using the seeds.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad this post gave you some new ideas! Please don’t tell anyone but seeds are my favorite part of the pumpkin.
      : )

  2. I am so excited for pumpkin season! I have to admit, I’ve never made my own filling before (from an actual pumpkin vs a can). Looks like I need to give that a try!

    1. Yes, it really is very easy. It’s also fun to know that when you serve/eat your pie, YOU made the whole thing!

  3. This is such interesting information and I do love this time of year. Love picking out the right pumpkins, carving them and eating the seeds. And of course Halloween wouldn’t be the same with out Charlie Brown.

    1. Your right. I always feel sorry for the little fella waiting all night in the pumpkin patch, tho. Have fun in your pumpkin patch. Save some seeds for me!

  4. The suggestion to use a sugar pumpkin because its stringless is worth its weight in gold! Last time I was attacked by the strings…. can’t wait to try the “right” pumpkin!

  5. I didn’t know the pumpkins used by the pilgrims were used as the cooking vessel! That’s an interesting tidbit. I used sugar pumpkins a few years ago to make a curried pumpkin soup and it was wonderful! Might have to revisit that recipe!

    1. Another interesting fact about pumpkins and pilgrims is that if it weren’t for pumpkins, chances are good that the Pilgrims would not have survived. The pumpkins were also used to feed the live stock as well as eaten other ways by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Good luck on the pumpkin soup- one of my favorites!

  6. I am such a huge pumpkin fan.
    I know, I know, a-typical house wife stuff here.
    But seriously, I love all of the advice you give on pumpkins. I don’t really do the whole canned pumpkin thing. I make my own purée from sugar pumpkins.
    I like the color so much more!
    Great post!

    1. I’m so glad you found my post helpful. Many people ask, when they see a pie made like yours, if it’s from a sweet potato! Glad you enjoy your sugar pumpkins!