The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 23, 2011

It's pumpkin time

FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Karen Freeman

TARBORO — There are a lot of reasons to need a pumpkin at this time of year. I use them to decorate my yard. I use them for jack o’ lanterns. I use them for pumpkin pie and I use them to make jams. But, I am always looking for new pumpkin recipes. Here are a few that I think you will like.

Our first is pumpkin crunch. It’s so easy that it’s idiot proof and everyone will love it. You will keep this recipe for years. You serve it with whipped topping but sometimes I substitute a powdered sugar glaze instead.

The second recipe is for pumpkin cookies. These freeze well, so make extras and put them in the freezer for those times when you need something to take somewhere. You can glaze them before or after freezing.

 The third recipe is an easy and fast pumpkin bread. It’s almost like a cake. It’s also extremely moist when you use fresh pumpkin.

The fourth dish is pumpkin stew! This stew recipe is baked and served in the pumpkin. It's a neat way to cook and serve pumpkin stew. Your kids will love this one.

The last recipe is grilled pumpkin. Use this grilled pumpkin along with grilled meats, including beef poultry, pork, or even seafood.



Pumpkin Crunch Cake



1 package    

1 package yellow cake mix

1 can (16oz)    solid pack pumpkin

1 can (12oz)    evaporated milk

3eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 teaspoons    pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon    salt

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup melted butter

whipped topping



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9x13 pan.

Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl.

Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden.  Cool completely.

Serve with whipped topping.



Pumpkin Cookies



1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup shortening

1 tsp. soda

1 cup pumpkin

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup nuts/raisins

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 cup flour

1/2  tsp. salt

1 egg



Cream sugar and shortening.  Add egg and pumpkin.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture.  Add vanilla, nut/raisins.



Drop by spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet (I greased mine just a little bit).  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.



Icing

3 tbsp margarine4 tsp. milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

Heat margarine, brown sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.  Add sugar.  Glaze cookies while still warm with a brush.



Pumpkin Bread



2 cups fresh cooked or canned pumpkin

1/2 cup oil

3/4tsp cinnamon

1 egg

2 cups sugar

1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp soda

1/2 cup chopped nuts (Optional, but Pecans are great)

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raisins (optional)(Use only a 1/4c. if you are using fresh juicy pumpkin or it will be too moist)

    

Mix all ingredients together beating until smooth.  Fill greased & floured bunt pan, bread pan, or 1 lb coffee can (half full).

Bake 1 hour and 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Making your own pumpkin puree:

Bake pumpkin halves face down on a cookie sheet in the oven, after removing the strings and seeds.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or till tender.

Make sure your pumpkin is cut straight in half so you can get a good seal when it is face down on the cookie sheet. This allows for it to steam inside; cooking the pumpkin.

The pumpkin pulp will be easy to scrape out and put in a bowl.

Place 2 cups in freezer bags and freeze till you need it.



Pumpkin Stew in the Shell



1 (10 - 12 lb.) pumpkin

2 lb. Beef stew meat

2 tbs. Oil

1 Bell Pepper (sliced into inch thick slices)

1 Onion (sliced)

4 Medium potatoes, (cubed)

3 Carrots (cubed)

2 Cloves of Garlic (diced)

2 Sticks of Celery (sliced)

1 15oz. can of diced tomatoes

2-3 cups    Water

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste



Carve a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds, and stringy insides.

Set pumpkin aside.

In a Dutch oven brown 2 lbs of stew meat in oil.

Add in bell pepper, onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic, celery, and tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 - 3 cups of water.

Let simmer for 1 hour. Place pumpkin in shallow pan, and place stew inside pumpkin.

Brush the outside of the pumpkin with a light coating of oil. Bake pumpkin and stew at 350 for 2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender.

Serve wile hot.

Be sure to get chunks of pumpkin in your stew, as they enhance the flavor of the stew.



Grilled Pumpkin



2 lbs Fresh pumpkin

2 tablespoons    balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons    olive oil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash black pepper



Wash pumpkin and clean out the seeds and fibers. Peel pumpkin. You can cook it unpeeled. But, people would have to be instructed to scoop out cooked pulp while eating it.

Cut pumpkin into one inch cubes. Place cubed pumpkin into a bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix.

Cook pumpkin on the grill on medium heat. Cook 5-10 minutes per side.

Pierce with a fork, and remove from grill when soft.

Serve warm with butter or margarine.

Tips: Try different kinds of vinaigrettes, basting oils, and marinades.



Did You Know?

Pumpkin Picking Tips



Going out to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins, is a fun filled rite of the Fall season. Whether you go out to a field filled with pumpkins, or get them from a roadside stand, we want to be certain that you get the absolutely best pumpkin for carving, decorating and eating!

Pumpkins are called "Long keepers". A healthy, uncarved pumpkin can last to Thanksgiving and beyond.

How to Select the Perfect Pumpkin:

Select a pumpkin that is completely orange. A partially green pumpkin might not ripen any further.

Size is an important factor. Medium pumpkins are best for pumpkin carving. Small pumpkins are better for cooking.   

Do not pick a pumpkin that is too big for you to carry, especially if you have back problems.  

Does the shade of orange matter? If so, there are hundreds of varieties, some with different shades of orange.

Selecting the shape is a matter of personal preference. Some like 'em tall. Others, like 'em round.

Often, people select shapes to fit the carving patterns they will use. Pick your pattern before you go.

Do not lift or carry a pumpkin by it's stem. The pumpkin stem gives it character.

A ripe pumpkin has a hard shell that does not dent or scratch easily when pressing on it with a thumbnail. Do this on the back or bottom of the fruit.......never on the face.

Examine the entire pumpkin carefully for soft spots. If you find even one soft spot, go on to the next pumpkin.

Check the pumpkin for cracks and splits. If you find one, examine it to be sure it is not turning into a soft spot or has mold inside of the crack.

Look for bugs and insects. Specifically, look for holes in the pumpkin, which are indicative of insect problems.

If you are out in the pumpkin patch picking a pumpkin:

Bring a small wagon with you. It's easier to haul tired kids and pumpkins.

Wear boots or old sneakers. It could be wet and muddy in the pumpkin patch.

Pick a pumpkin that you can carry back with you.

If smaller children are carrying pumpkin, pick smaller pumpkins. Remember those little arms will probably get tired before reaching your car.

Bring a sharp knife or pruner.

Cut the vine on either side of the stem. After you get it home, you can trim off the remaining pieces of vine, and cut the stem at the perfect spot.  

 HYPERLINK "http://pumpkinnook.com/howto/pumpkinpickingtips.htm" http://pumpkinnook.com/howto/pumpkinpickingtips.htm