A Squirrel Gathering Her Pumpkin

Of all the seasons, the only one I can say I’m not too fond of is winter.  I’m invigorated when spring arrives with pre-season baseball, energized when summer goes full swing and we can go see our beloved Cardinals play in St. Louie and I’m absolutely in love with fall – its colors, the cool breezes, the hay rack rides, The Pumpkin Festival, wiener roasts, hot cocoa at football games, Pumpkin Pie Blizzard’s, family at Thanksgiving but pumpkin pie tops the list.  I’ve tried on many accounts to cook and mush fresh pumpkin but it just isn’t the same as Libby’s canned pumpkin.

Around these parts we are known as the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”  Pumpkin fields are as common as a corn or bean field.  The harvest operation is one of the most interesting.  You can sometimes hear them in the middle of the night…pumpkins thumping as they are scooped up to a conveyor belt into the wagon and then into the semi.  I’m sure that being so close to the plant provided us with an advantage over the rest of the country.  However, last year canned pumpkin was as scarce as Easter candy at Christmas.

It was an unusual year with it being so wet during the spring, most farmers didn’t finish planting until around June 1st vs. the general rule of thumb of April 15th.  That set everyone up for a late harvest.  Then the rain returned making the fields too muddy for the equipment. It was heart breaking to see all of the fields that had to be destroyed last year. There were pumpkin fields that went all the way through the winter.  And, even a cornfield here and there.  This one was just down the road from us.

This was one corn field which had to be left through the winter. The picture was taken on March 2nd. Note the snow in the background.

For many down south it isn’t odd to see an entire field standing through the winter.  Around here it’s one of those things you rarely see.  Unless it’s a farmer who’s left a small patch up for the deer.

This year, when I started to see the pumpkin in stores, I was like a squirrel gathering her nuts.  I have a nice little stockpile in the

All winter I wondered about the moisture count of this field. I never have heard.

storage room.  My hubby’s uncle, a retired math teacher, works at the Libby plant during harvest.  In the beginning, he was seeing low quality and smaller amounts of ‘meat’ per pumpkin.

Even though it was a slow start, the year turned out very well considering.   I’m so thankful that we’ve had a nice pumpkin harvest and there is no longer a shortage!!

Here is one of my favorite pumpkin desserts:

The Magic Farmhouse’s Cold Pumpkin Pie

Filling:

  • 1 pkg. vanilla pudding
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

Crust:

  • 1/2 Graham crackers crushed
  • 1/2 Ritz crackers crushed
  • 1/4 c. butter

    Crush the graham crackers and Ritz crackers crumbs into the pie dish with the melted butter.

Topping:

  • 1/2 container Cool Whip topping
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

To make pie crust, combine crumbs and melted butter; pat into a 9 in. pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 min. Let cool. For filling, combine milk & pudding mix in a mixing bowl; beat well.  Add pumpkin, cinnamon; mix well.  Pour into crust.  Chill for at least 2 hrs.  Combine topping ingredients & smooth over pie.  Sprinkle just a bit of cinnamon on topping for presentation.

I wish I could show you a picture of the final deal but someone dove into the pie before I had a chance to snap a shot.

What’s more, did you know pumpkin is one of the most nutritional vegetables around?

In one cup of cooked, boiled and drained, pumpkin your body consumes….

  • Calcium – 37 mg
  • Dietary Fiber – 3 gm
  • Folate – 21 mcg
  • Iron – 1.4 mg
  • Magnesium – 22 mg
  • Niacin – 1 mg
  • Potassium – 564 mg
  • Protein – 2 grams
  • Selenium – 0.50 mg
  • Vitamin A – 2650 IU
  • Vitamin C – 12 mg
  • Vitamin E – 3 mg
  • Zinc – 1 mg
  • And, ONLY 49 Calories!!
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