I so love fall. Fall…the days start getting shorter, there’s a crispness to the air, leaves start changing color, pumpkins and squash abound. That is unless you live in the Sunshine State where it is still nearly 90 degrees and humid and you break a sweat walking to the mailbox. Yuck!
Well, for the rest of the country. Yeah for fall!
We ushered in the first day of fall with some extra yummy pumpkin bread. The kids and I have already scarffed down half of one loaf and I’m sure we’ll have the other loaf and a half polished off before bedtime tomorrow.
According to my can of Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin, ½ C of pumpkin puree provides 300% of a person’s daily nutritional needs for Vitamin A and has 5 g of fiber (20%). Not too shabby.
We love pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pancakes. I’m sure we would love just about anything with pumpkin in it, although I’m not sure that the fam would like pumpkin soup. That probably wouldn’t go over very well.
Because of our fondness for pumpkin, I have already bought our pumpkin seeds for next year’s garden. They are none other than Seeds of Change (certified organic) Heirloom Small Sugar Pumpkin. I saw them on display at our local organic store and couldn’t pass them up. They are supposed to be good for pies and work well in a small garden. I wouldn’t say our garden will be small, but pumpkin vines do tend to run amuck if left to their own vices. Seeds of Change has a nice web order site for organic and heirloom seeds. I need to get my order in soon so the seeds will be here ready for planting come spring. We had some pumpkin pie pumpkins in our little yard last year and they made wonderful pies, so I can’t wait to cook up and freeze our little pumpkins next year for lost of yummy pumpkin recipes throughout next winter.
If you’ve never cooked with fresh pumpkin, you should try it. It’s easy. You just remove all of the seeds and strings from inside the pumpkin. Slice the fruit into chunks. Place it shell side up on a pan and bake for about 1 hour at 325 degrees F, or until the pulp is tender. Scrape the pulp from the shell. I like to let my pumpkin drain in cheesecloth in a small container in the fridge for several hours so that it better resembles the “canned stuff.” To store, place desired amounts in individual storage containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to a year. To use, defrost in the fridge for about 24 hours before use.
Some great pumpkin information can be found at the University of Illinois Extension website.
I have a wonderful Pumpkin Bread recipe that I have been using for years, but today I tried the Pumpkin Bread recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook that I borrowed from the library. [Thank you Colyn for the suggestion. The cookbook is WONDERFUL and it will be on my list for Santa.]
The recipe really isn’t all that different from my original…a bit less sugar and the addition of a little baking powder, but I thought I would give it a whirl. Plus, as always, I had to add my own little flair to the recipe. So what you see below is my “new” Pumpkin Bread recipe.
Jaynelle’s Pumpkin Bread
½ C. canola oil
½ C. unsweetened applesauce
1 1/3 C. brown sugar
1 1/3 C. sugar
4 large eggs
2 C. (or 15 oz. can) pumpkin
2/3 C. water
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/3 C. King Arthur whole-wheat flour (I think it does make a difference)
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream together the oil, applesauce and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin, and water. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla, stirring to blend.
Spoon the batter into two lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of one loaf comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack. When cool, wrap the loaves well in plastic wrap or foil. [King Arthur recommended that the loaves be wrapped overnight before cutting, but who can wait that long for bread when the house smells so good!?!]