The pumpkin business is one that has been valued over $100 million. Over a billion pounds of pumpkin is produced each year. Illinois one of the top 4 pumpkin producing states alone has produced over a million pounds of pumpkins. The other top producing states include Ohio, Pennsylvania and California. Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing. There are those that are grown for ornamental sales. Farmer markets, retail stores and you pick farms are the top places to find pumpkins for decorating. Illinois will produce about 90-95% of those processed in the United States.
Pumpkins are members of the vine crop family cucurbits Pumpkins seeds, flowers, and flesh can all be eaten and are a great source of potassium and vitamin A. Pumpkin seeds make a great snack roasted. Pumpkins are great to feed animals. Pumpkin flowers are edible as well. You can use pumpkins in soup, pies and breads. The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over 5 feet round and weighed over 350 pounds. In the pie was 80 lbs of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs.
Pumpkins originated in Central America. The early colonist used pumpkins as an ingredient for the crust of pies not the filling. Pumpkins were once thought to be able to help remove freckles and cure snake bites.
Pumpkins come in a variety of sizes. The smallest weighing less than a pound to the largest over 1,000 The largest pumpkin ever grown was 1,140 pounds Pumpkins are 90% water. The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" the greek word for "large melon" American pumpkins are traditionally the Connecticut field variety. Over 75% of the pumpkin supply in the U.S. is available in October.
Colonial times would find the Native Americans roasting long strips of pumpkin in an open fire. Colonists would slice off the pumpkin tops, remove seeds and fill the inside with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin shell would then be baked in hot ashes. This would be the beginning of the pumpkin pie. Pumpkin would also be used to make mats by flattening strips of pumpkin and drying them together. Pumpkin seeds would also be used for food and medicine.
Makes six servings.
- 4 eggs
- 1 one-pound can of pumpkin
- 1/2 cup light molasses
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 cup milk
- Break the eggs into a large bowl, and beat with a fork until light yellow.
- Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, and milk. Stir well.
- Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until the pudding is firm in the middle.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
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