Pumpkin Pictures

picture of a pumpkin

Around Halloween, most people think pumpkin when they think squash family, Cucurbitaceae.

A native New World vegetable family, Cucurbitaceae species now grow around the world.

Pumpkins are big business. According to the National Agriculture Statistics Service, in 2008, New York led the United States with over $38 million dollars with of pumpkins grown. Ohio, Illinois and California came in next with approximately $22 million dollars worth of pumpkins grown, followed closely by Pennsylvania with $20 million dollars worth of pumpkin production.

Accordingly, the big business of pumpkins often translates into big pumpkins. Please tap or click the green tabs on either the left or right side of the box to view additional pumpkin pictures.

Any pumpkin over one thousand pounds can be considered a record setter. Currently a Rhode Island gardener holds the record for largest pumpkin grown. In 2007, his pumpkin, an Atlantic Giant variety, weighed in at 1,689 pounds.

Anyone who tosses a few pumpkin seeds along a patch of moist ground in late spring soon recognizes the relative ease of growing pumpkins. Growing a smaller pumpkin patch can be almost that easy

Pumpkins generally prefer summer season or warm weather growing environments. Other than that, they adapt to a variety of soil and sun conditions.

As long as pumpkins have space to grow with adequate food and water (their shallow roots need at least a weekly watering) a pumpkin will grow, although it might not grow into a one thousand pound pumpkin.

Pumpkins do need elbow room to grow and most experts recommend spacing plants eight to ten feet apart if you plan on growing a patch of pumpkins.

From start to finish, a mature pumpkin requires about fourth months of total vegetation and fruiting time. June plantings means that by the end of September and the beginning of October, they are ready for harvest. Stored in a cool dry place with good ventilation, pumpkins can last through the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays.

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg serve as the basic ingredients for most pumpkin recipes. Try any or all of the following pumpkin recipes during the holiday season.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups lowfat milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
Directions:
  • Mix sugar, margarine, and salt to a consistent blend.
  • Mix in pumpkin and maintain consistency in the blend.
  • Add the eggs and milk, again, mixing slowly to maintain consistency in the blend.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl.
  • Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin batter, still maintaining its consistency.
  • Pour batter into lightly greased baking pan.
  • Bake at 350 o for 35 to 40 minutes (use the knife test)
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups oat bran 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. corn oil
  • 1 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400o.
  • Combine oat bran, rolled oats and milk in bowl.
  • In separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
  • Blend pumpkin, egg whites, oil and raisins in a third bowl, and then add to the oat-milk mixture. Add in the flour sugar mixture and stir in contents just until moist.
  • Spray 12 muffin pan cups with vegetable oil spray and divide the batter equally among them.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Pie crust ingredients:
  • 1 C quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C ground almonds
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
Pie Filling Ingredients:
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 C evaporated skim milk
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425o
  • Mix oats, flour, almonds, sugar, and salt together in small mixing bowl.
  • Blend oil and water together in measuring cup with fork or small wire whisk until emulsified.
  • Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. If needed, add small amount of water to hold mixture together.
  • Press into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light brown.
  • Turn down oven to 350o F.
  • Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix to blend ingredients.
  • Add pumpkin and milk and stir to combine.
  • Pour into prepared pie shells.
  • Bake 45 minutes at 350o. (use the knife test)
The following two pumpkin soup recipes show the range of pumpkin soup possibilies from simple to complex.

Chicken stock, pumpkin and a cream or milk serve as the soup base.

For those feeling cretive, try switching between equivalent ingredients, such as coconut milk for skim milk and curry for nutmeg.

Quick Pumpkin Pie Soup

Ingredients:
  • 16-ounce can pumpkin
  • 12-ounce cans evaporated skim milk
  • Fresh Apples (sliced)
Directions:
  • Mix pumpkin and milk in blender.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Pour into bowls, and garnish with apple slices.

Curried Pumpkin Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree, cooked
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 TBS butter (or light oil to sautee mushrooms and onions)
  • 1 TBS curry powder
  • 1 TBS honey
  • small pinch of grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Directions:
  • Saute mushrooms and onion in butter over moderate heat for 3 minutes.
  • Add flour and curry powder. Cook 5 minutes over low heat.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and slowly combine with the chicken stock.
  • Transfer the starter stock to a suitable soup pot
  • Stir in the pureed pumpkin
  • Add the honey, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Allow the soup to simmer for 10-15 minutes with the occasional stirring.
  • Stir in cream, do not allow the soup to boil.
  • Prior to serving, reheat the soup to temperature taste.

Baked pumpkin seeds are a healthy Halloween or Thanksgiving snack, high in iron content and polyunsaturated fats, which help control blood cholesterol levels. The only down side to baking pumpkin seeds might be considerations of serving size. One cup of seeds provides a day's worth of dietary fat requirements for the average person.

Ingredients: Pumpkin Seeds, Polyunsaturated oil, seasoning of choice.

Directions:

  • Wash and remove all the excess pumpkin strings on the seeds. Allow them to dry.
  • Place the seeds on a baking sheet (tinfoil optional)
  • Brush some oil on the seeds. Using pumpkin seed oil maintains the pumpkin seed taste. If you do not have pumpkin seed oil, use polyunsaturated oil, such as sunflower seed oil.
  • Sprinkle some of your favorite seasoning on top of the oiled seeds.
  • Bake at 325o or until the seed turns a bit brown. Check after 20 minutes.
picture of a gourd

Drying Gourds

With the exception of the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest, a handful of native gourds (Cucurbita genus) can be found growing in the United States.

Members of the Cucurbita genus are called soft-skinned gourds, and along with Lagenaria (hard-skinned gourds), they represent the most popular decorative holiday gourds.

If you stop and think for a moment, it sounds logical that the initial discovery of a gourd's ornamental utility was made by individuals that found the dried gourds lying on the ground, well after the growing season concluded.

While a natural approach to drying gourds works well in many areas, it brings with it the possibility for a low yield of ornamentals due to the on ground rotting factor.

A simple two step process is recommended for anyone interested in increasing the yield of dried ornamental gourds.

First, drying gourds begins by harvesting them. Most experts recommend allowing the gourds to remain on the vine until ripened, and the vine is brown.

When ripe the gourds should be clipped from the vine (leaving some of the vine on the gourd), rinsed and disinfected with a very mild (2%) bleach wash, and set off the ground in an open space.

Once prepared, the gourds are ready to dry. Air circulation and time are the dried gourd's best ally.

Provide the gourds with a well ventilated, open space, for the duration of the drying process. Depending on the size and type of gourd in question, drying takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months.

Many people periodically check for, and clean mold from, their gourds during the drying process.

Shaking a lightweight gourd and hearing the seeds rattle is usually a good indication the gourd is properly dried.

Those interested in the Halloween theme might also enjoy the Halloween offerings from the folks behind Kids' Turn Central and Internet Family Fun.

© 2003-2014 Patricia A. Michaels