Pumpkins aren't just for Halloween

Monday, November 28, 2011

Halloween and Thanksgiving may be over, but not our interest in pumpkins.

Local pumpkin grower, Larry Lazarz, will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 Putnam County Extension Annual meeting on Tuesday evening, Nov. 29.

The annual meeting which will also feature other agricultural products grown in Putnam County, is an opportunity to meet and talk with the local Extension staff and members of the Extension Board that help direct local Extension programming. Reservations for the dinner meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. can still be made until noon on Monday, Nov. 28.

Though Mr. Lazarz is sure to enlighten those who attend the annual meeting with many interesting issues regarding the cultivation of pumpkins, here are a few pumpkin facts for us all to consider:

*Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing with a small percentage grown for ornamental use.

* The majority of pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.

* Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.

* Pumpkin flowers are also edible.

* Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A

* Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies and breads.

* Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called cucurbits.

* Pumpkins originated in Central America.

* In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling. Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.

* Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

* Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds.

* Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

* Pumpkins are fruit.

* Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.

Recipe for easy, healthy pumpkin bread (Can also be used for muffins)

Makes 2 loaves (12 slices each)

2cups all-purpose flour
1 cups whole wheat flour
2cups sugar
2teaspoons baking soda
1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon salt
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1teaspoon ground nutmeg
1teaspoon ground allspice
1/2teaspoon ground cloves
1can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1cup fat-free (skim) milk
3/4cup fat-free egg product (egg whites)
1/2cup canola oil (if you choose, you can substitute applesauce for oil)


1.Heat oven to 350F. Spray bottoms only of two 9x5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves until well blended.
2.In medium bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, egg product and oil until well blended. Stir into flour mixture until well blended. Spoon batter evenly into pans.

3. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Upcoming Events

Nov. 29 -- Extension Annual Meeting, Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 -- Putnam County Health Coalition Mtg. at Extension Office 2 p.m.

Nov. 30 -- Monical's Pizza 4-H Fundraiser Day

Dec. 1 -- 4-H Junior Leader Kickoff, Fairgrounds, 7-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 6 -- 4-H Junior Leader Caroling, Mill Pond, 5-6 p.m.

Dec. 12 -- 4-H Junior Leader Caroling, Autumn Glen, 5-6 p.m.

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