What Shall We Make Today?

So, you did the elaborate turkey dinner thing and you deserve a break from cooking, but leftovers are all gone?  Today’s offering is here to the rescue (and no, I don’t mean Ron to the rescue…LOL) It’s crock pot beef stew.  It’s great for a Sunday watching football kind of day.  Add a loaf of Rhodes fresh baked bread and this meal is awesome!!

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon browning sauce, optional

Minced fresh thyme

Directions

Layer the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Add stew meat; turn to coat evenly. In a large skillet, brown meat in oil in batches. Place over vegetables.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, broth, mustard, salt, pepper, thyme and, if desired, browning sauce. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are tender. If desired, sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving.

ENJOY!

TA DA!!!!!! Oooooops!!!

Let’s face it, the turkey is the STAR of the Thanksgiving holiday! That being said, it’s not important to include the turkey in EVERY facet of the day, right?  I’m not even sure that IS a turkey in the photo above—looks like the Loch Ness Monster to me. 

In my house, we never did much with appetizers on Thanksgiving—the meal was THE focus—and eating before that seemed sacrilege.  However, if you want to present your guests with something to do – why are they not pitching in and helping is my question— here are some lovely centerpieces to showcase your talents and occupy their time–seriously, there’s always a need for someone to wash dishes.  Your guests will nosh, laugh at times, and be full by dinner. Que sera sera.

The Fruit Kabob Turkeys

The Turkey Cheesed Ball (doesn’t he look mad?)

The Child’s Table Turkeys

Turdey CAKES? (not a typo–look at them!)

My suggestions?

Keep it simple…

Keep it fun…

Keep it real…

What Shall We Bake Today?

Pumpkin Pie is usually the chosen dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, but pumpkin roll is a wonderful alternate!

Cake

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

¾ cup flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350*.  Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Beat the 3 eggs with the cup of sugar.  Add the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin and the baking soda.  Mix well.

Spread onto wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake 10-15 minutes.   Cool slightly.  Turn onto terry towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Roll up like a jellyroll and let cool completely.

When cool, unroll and spread filling onto cake and roll back up.

Filling

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 Tbsp butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

Cream the cream cheese and the butter.  Add the powdered sugar.

Viola! Pumpkin Roll! 

Now if you’re interested in making a pumpkin roll with a little extra pizazz, check this out! (This is from the Sugar Hero website: http://www.sugarhero.com)

It’s created by using a template and a batter made of butter, egg whites, sugar and flour to pipe the gorgeous leaves in the jelly roll pan ahead of time.  (Full instructions can be found at their website.)  Then the pumpkin roll recipe proceeds as above.  The design bakes onto the pumpkin cake part and creates a beautiful presentation. 

The First Thanksgiving Feast

(I went in search of what the Pilgrims ate at the first Thanksgiving and came across this article by Mark Fleming at the newengland.com website.)

The Thanksgiving meal is remarkably consistent in its elements: the turkey, the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce. Barring ethical, health, or religious objections, it is pretty much the same meal for everyone, around the country, and through the years of their lives. We stick with the basics and simply change the seasonings.

But what about that first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 (historians don’t know the exact date, but place it sometime between September 21 and November 9), when British settlers hosted the first documented harvest celebration? What did they eat at the first Thanksgiving, and how similar is it to the traditional American Thanksgiving meal today?

Here’s how Edward Winslow described the first Thanksgiving feast in a letter to a friend:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

What They (Likely) Did Have at the First Thanksgiving

  • Venison
  • Fowl (geese and duck)
  • Corn
  • Nuts (walnuts, chestnuts, beechnuts)
  • Shellfish

So venison was a major ingredient, as well as fowl, but that likely included geese and ducks. Turkeys are a possibility, but were not a common food in that time. Pilgrims grew onions and herbs. Cranberries and currants would have been growing wild in the area, and watercress may have still been available if the hard frosts had held off, but there’s no record of them having been served. In fact, the meal was probably quite meat-heavy.

Likewise, walnuts, chestnuts, and beechnuts were abundant, as were sunchokes. Shellfish were common, so they probably played a part, as did beans, pumpkins, squashes, and corn (served in the form of bread or porridge), thanks to the Wampanoags.

It’s possible, but unlikely, that there was turkey at the first Thanksgiving.

What They (Definitely) Did Not Have at the First Thanksgiving

  • A turkey centerpiece
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)
  • Bread stuffing or pie (wheat flour was rare)
  • Sugar
  • Aunt Lena’s green bean casserole

But how about bringing a little more truly traditional flavor back to your table? Back in 2003, we consulted with historians at Plimoth Plantation, the Wampanoag and English settlers living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and asked writer Jane Walsh to devise a menu that incorporated some of the foods that would have been served at the first Thanksgiving. We didn’t eliminate any favorites or try to go sugar-free. We skipped the venison. Really, like everyone else who will gather around a table on the fourth Thursday in November this year, we simply changed the seasonings.

Thanksgiving Recipes | Tradition with a Twist

Watercress-Currant Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Stuffing of Jerusalem Artichokes, Currants, and Grapes
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Sweet Walnut Crust

Historically-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes

The Wampanoag and English settlers may not have had access to all of the ingredients included in these recipes, but by including pheasant, goose, or venison in your Thanksgiving menu, you’re at least paying tribute to a meat they likely enjoyed back in 1621. Chestnuts and native corn were common, too. Here are a few dishes to get you further inspired — both reader-submitted and from the Yankee recipe archives.

Venison Tenderloin
Roast Goose
Chestnut Croquettes
New England Succotash

This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated.

My Apologies to Cranberries

In my house growing up, Thanksgiving always featured the gelatinous cranberry sauce above.  It wiggled on the plate as we passed it around—carefully avoiding my plate, thank you very much!  I turned up my nose and passed it along.  Thankfully when I wed, my husband had a similar revulsion to the stuff.  However, upon researching cranberries for this open and seeing more appetizing versions, I realized I probably misjudged this berry.  So I hereby apologize sincerely and if anyone reading this has a good recipe for homemade cranberry sauce, I would be more than willing to try it out.  Read on for some interesting facts about cranberries from the justfunfacts.com website.

The name cranberry is used to describe tart red berries produced by several plant species.

In Britain, cranberry may refer to the native species Vaccinium oxycoccos, while in North America, cranberry may refer to Vaccinium macrocarpon.

Vaccinium oxycoccos is cultivated in central and northern Europe, while Vaccinium macrocarpon is cultivated throughout the northern United States, Canada and Chile.

Vaccinium oxycoccos is known by the common names small cranberry, bog cranberry, swamp cranberry while Vaccinium macrocarpon is known by the common names large cranberry, American cranberry and bearberry.

Native Americans used the cranberries as a staple as early as 1550.

By 1620 Pilgrims learned how to use cranberries from the Native Americans.

The development of cultivated varieties cranberries occurred only during the past 100 years, making it one of the most recently domesticated fruit crops.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in the U.S. states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec.

Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines that can grow up to 7 feet long and 2 to 8 inches in height.

They have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves.

The flowers are pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. Small flowers appear in June and are pollinated by bees.

The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially light green, turning red when ripe. It is edible, but with an acidic taste that usually overwhelms its sweetness.

Berry picking begins in early September and continues until late October. More than 121,255 US tons are produced in the United States annually. Most cranberry products are consumed in the United States and Canada.

Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid.

The health benefits of cranberries include relief from urinary tract infection (UTI), respiratory disorders, kidney stones, cancer and heart diseases. Cranberries are especially beneficial to the eyes (they significantly improve symptoms of cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy).

As fresh cranberries are hard, sour, and bitter, about 95% of cranberries are processed and used to make cranberry juice, sauce, compote or jelly.

They are also sold dried and sweetened.

Cranberry juice is usually sweetened or blended with other fruit juices to reduce its natural tartness.

Cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey at Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom, and at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners in the United States and Canada.

Cranberries are also used in baking (muffins, scones, cakes and breads).

At one teaspoon of sugar per ounce, cranberry juice cocktail is more highly sweetened than even soda drinks that have been linked to obesity.

There are several alcoholic cocktails, including the Cosmopolitan, that include cranberry juice.

The Lenni-lenape Indians of New Jersey called the cranberry “Pakim” meaning ‘bitter berry.’ They used this wild red berry as a part of their food and as a symbol of peace and friendship. The Chippawas called the cranberry “a’ni-bimin,” the Alogonquin called it “atoqua,” and the Naragansetts called it “sasemineash.” Native Americans would eat it raw, mixed in with maple sugar, or with deer meat (as a dried “Pemmican”).

Cranberries were offered to the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving.

Source: https://justfunfacts.com/

Etymology of Words and Phrases – Part 2

GABARDINE: Few movements in history have been more thrilling than the pilgrimages of the Middle Ages. Many people traveled to shrines throughout Europe and even to the Holy Land. Pilgrims continued to visit some of the shrines at enormous sacrifice of time and money. They wore an unofficial but characteristic garb: a gray cowl bearing a red cross and a broad-brimmed, stiff hat. Pilgrims carried a staff, a sack, and a gourd. They usually traveled in company with other adventurers, singing hymns as they walked and begging food from those they met.

Medieval Pilgrims

Since a particular type of upper garment was worn by the pilgrim, it gradually came to be identified with the journey itself. A will filed in 1520 included this bequest: “Until litill Thomas Beke my gawbardyne to make him a gowne.” From the garment the term came to refer to the coarse material from which it was customarily made. Slight modifications in spelling produced gabardine – a kind of cloth that passed from the religious pilgrim’s vocabulary into general use.

Assorted Gabardine

RUBBER: On his second voyage to “East India,” Columbus found natives playing with a substance they called caoutchouc. It would stretch and then snap back into shape; when made into balls it would bounce. Scientists who examined the odd substance agreed that it was unlike anything known in Europe, yet they confessed themselves unable to imagine any use for it.

Small quantities of caoutchouc were brought to Europe, but it remained a curiosity for more than two centuries. Finally, someone discovered by accident that the material could be used for removing the marks of a lead pencil. Hence, bookkeepers termed it “lead-eater.”

Around 1780 Joseph Priestley experimented with a bit of caoutchouc, hoping to find some use more important than erasing errors made in ledgers. He failed and decided that it would never be of value except for rubbing out pencil marks.

Joseph Priestley

Consequently, he called it “East India rubber.” Soon the nickname of the one-job substance was abbreviated to rubber. The name serves as a perpetual reminder that civilization was once at a loss as to what to do with a substance of a thousand uses.

MAP: Greek geographers of the sixth century BC developed considerable skill in making charts to guide sailors and travelers. Then the Romans extended the art by engraving scale representations of the Empire on fine marble slabs. These devices, and the more abundant clay tablets, proved to be extremely cumbersome, so someone thought of painting geographical charts upon cloth.

Fragment of Greek “Map”

For this purpose, the most suitable material proved to be fine table linen, or mappa. This led to the practice of calling any flat geographical chart a map.

RECIPE: Since Latin was the universal language of medieval scholars, physicians used it in writing directions for compounding medicines. Virtually every prescription listed the ingredients in precise order and began with the Latin verb recipe, meaning “take.”

Ancient Apothecary “Recipes”

Care in measuring and blending the ingredients of a tasty dish is also essential. Therefore, when housewives began to master the art of reading and writing, they adopted the apothecary’s custom and made written lists of ingredients and steps in cookery. Inevitably, such a set of directions took the pharmaceutical name and became familiar to the household recipe.

BUDGET: Struggling with a budget is no new problem; it dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. Housewives had to be cautious in their spending and they kept money for household expenses in a little leather bulga (Latin for bag). This custom also prevailed among businessmen, who may have borrowed it from their wives or vice versa.

Antique “Bulga”

Centuries later, the Latin word was adopted into Middle French as bougette (“little leather bag”). When the British Chancellor of Exchequer appeared before Parliament, he carried his papers explaining the estimated revenue and expenses in a leather bag and then “opened the budget” for the coming year. Thus, budget (as it came to be pronounced) came to mean a systematic plan for expenditures, both for governments and for private individuals.

EAT ONE’S HAT: Many a man engaged in a contest of some sort has offered to eat his hat if he loses. In such a situation, a knowledge of etymology would be of great value, for the expression eat one’s hat once referred not to a Stetson or a Panama, but to a culinary product.

Napier’s famous Boke of Cookry, one of the earliest European cookbooks, gives the following directions: “Hattes are made of eggs, veal, dates, saffron, salt, and so forth.” In the hands of amateur cooks, the concoction was frequently so unpalatable that it required a strong stomach to eat it.

Even so, the early braggart who offered to eat a hatte had in mind nothing so distasteful as a felt or a straw!

FLOUR: During the Elizabethan Age, the word “flower” meant “the best,” as it does today in such expressions as “the flower of the nation’s youth.”

Millers of the period ground wheat by a crude process, then sifted the meal. Only the finest of it passed through the cloth sieve in a process called “boulting.” Reserved for tables of the nobility, this top-quality ground wheat was naturally called the “flower of wheat,” but in this context the word came to be spelled flour. The two spellings were used interchangeably until the 19th century. In Paradise Lost, Milton wrote the line, “O flours that never will in other climates grow.”

Boulting

COOKING TERMS: There is at least one serious gap in European history. Her contemporaries failed to record the name of the woman who first thought of stuffing an egg. Nothing is known about her recipe, except that she was liberal with pepper. Her invention was so hot that folks who tried it were reminded of Beelzebub’s fiery furnaces. As a result, the tidbit came to be called a deviled egg.

Most other terms of cookery are prosaic by comparison. More than half were borrowed from the French – which suggest that English cooks were never very imaginative. Braise stems from French for “hot charcoal.” Toast is but slightly modified from “toaster” (“to parch with heat). Boil stems from a continental verb meaning “to make little bubbles.” Poach grew out of pocher, which meant “to pouch,” that is, to enclose an egg’s yellow in a little pouch of white.

Fry, grill, roast and baste were also adapted from French. Fricassee was taken as is from that language, but the ultimate origin is unknown.

The oldest term in cookery is probably cook, still much like Latin coquus. The Norse gave us bake, from baka (“hearth”). The Saxons contributed sear, spelled just as it is today. It originally meant to “wither with heat.” Scorch – the bane of a cook’s existence – has a long history that goes all the way back to the Old English scorkle, which started life as a term for skinning meat by searing.

What Shall We Make Today?

Pumpkin Seeds

If you’re planning on carving a pumpkin this year, or you want to cook and puree a pumpkin for pies or bread, save the seeds! According to WebMD, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that reduce risk factors of chronic diseases, including cancer.   

Any pumpkin you can get your hands on will do the trick. Pie Pumpkins, also called Sugar Pumpkins, will have more flesh if you’re planning to eat the pumpkin too. Some say they have crisper seeds than carving pumpkins, but both can be used.

Harvesting the seeds may be the only complicated part of the whole process, and it’s not that bad (promise!).

What You’ll Need

a sharp knife

an ice cream scoop (a large, sturdy spoon will work too)

a colander or strainer

a towel

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: If you’ll be carving your pumpkin for Halloween, cut a hole about 6 inches in diameter in the bottom of your pumpkin. Use the ice cream scoop or your hands to scrape out the pumpkin guts. Try to separate the flesh from the seeds as much as possible before collecting the seeds in your strainer. It’s a messy job, but it’s worth it.

Step 2: If you’re planning to roast your pumpkin, simply cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds from the flesh with a sturdy serving spoon or ice cream scoop.

Step 3: Thoroughly rinse your seeds under cold running water. You can even set your colander in a bowl of water and most of the seeds will float to the top. Either way, you’ll need to get your hands in there to further separate rest of the pumpkin bits. Spread the clean seeds on a towel and pat dry. At this point you can do a quick boil in salt water before roasting for extra crispiness, but there isn’t always time for that so this recipe takes the seeds straight to the oven.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds requires only three ingredients and 15 minutes of prep time (and just over 30 minutes total time!). Now that you know how to clean and prepare the seeds, let’s break down the rest of the recipe.

What You’ll Need

15x10x1-inch baking pan

Wooden spoon

Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin seeds from fresh pumpkin

2 teaspoons melted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Heat oven to 350°F. Clean and prepare seeds (as instructed above), then spread seeds in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Toss with melted butter until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2: Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp, stirring once during baking.

Step 3: Cool in baking pan 10 minutes or until completely cooled before serving.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in the Microwave

If you’re really in a rush, you can “roast” your pumpkin seeds in the microwave. Place them in a single layer in a glass pie plate. Microwave them for about 2 minutes and then stir. Microwave again for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after each minute, until the seeds are dry and crunchy.

How to Season Pumpkin Seeds

A simple sprinkle of salt and drizzle of olive oil or melted butter always do the trick, but there are so many seasonings that bring out the best in pumpkin seeds. You can keep it basic, go sweet or even spicy.

For each cup of raw seeds, evenly coat with…

Italian

2 tablespoons melted butter + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan + 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Sweet

2 tablespoons melted butter + 1 tablespoon brown sugar + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Savory

2 tablespoons melted butter + 1 teaspoon seasoned salt + 1 teaspoon white vinegar (Note: Add the vinegar after roasting.)

Spicy

2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning + 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest (Note: Add the zest after roasting.)

Serving:

You can eat pumpkin seeds on salads, soups, in desserts or (most likely) straight from the roasting pan into your mouth. And you can eat the pumpkin seed shells too!  Once cooked, the outer hull is just as edible as the seed inside — and is a good source of zinc.

NOTE:  There are pumpkin seeds and there are pepitas.

Pepita is the Spanish word for pumpkin seed, and you’ll see pepitas on just about every chef-driven restaurant menu these days. It’s a pretty trendy ingredient, to say the least. However, if you’ve ever had one of those delicious little pepitas, you’ll know that they are very different from what comes out of your jack-o-lantern. They’re tender, greenish and don’t have hard white shells like regular pumpkin seeds do. And you can’t just remove the shells off of a pumpkin seed and get a pepita — they actually come from certain types of pumpkins (thin-skinned Styrian or oilseed pumpkins) that have shell-free seeds.

What Shall We Make Today: Halloween Edition

The best Halloween themed dessert by far is Dirt Cake.  It’s easy to make and lots of fun to be creative with your presentation.

Dirt Cake

1 16-oz package of Oreos (crushed)

¼ cup butter, softened

1 8-oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 pkgs instant vanilla pudding (3.9-oz size)

3 ½ cups milk

12 oz cool whip

Place the Oreos in a Ziploc bag; close.  Using a rolling pin, gently crush the cookies.

In one bowl, cream the butter, the cream cheese and the powdered sugar. 

In another (large) bowl, beat the pudding mixes and milk.  Then fold in the whipped cream and make sure the whipped cream is thoroughly incorporated.  Gently mix the butter/cream cheese/powdered sugar mixture into the pudding/milk/whipped cream mixture.

Layer the creamed mixture with the cookie crumbs in a compote dish. Add gummy worms if desired.

OR…

You can use a 13 x 9 dish and create a graveyard. Milano cookies make great headstones.

What Shall We Make Today?

In honor of National Pot Pie Day, we’re making a Pillsbury classic—chicken pot pie! The recipe, pictures, and tips come from the Pillsbury website.

Ingredients

Crust

1 box (14.1 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Pie Crusts (2 Count), softened as directed on box

Filling

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 3/4 cups Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Steps

Heat oven to 425°F. Prepare pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie pan.

In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened.

Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. During last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tips from the Pillsbury Kitchens

tip 1

Make a foil collar (or pie crust shield) to protect the edges of the pastry from over browning. Place strips of foil to cover crust during the last 15 or 20 minutes of baking.

tip 2

A standard 9-inch glass pie plate works best for this recipe.

tip 3

The only complicated part of making a pot pie is the pastry. By using a refrigerated dough you’re left with making a quick, savory gravy that can be filled with leftover cooked chicken, turkey, or ham and a good handful of veggies. A dash of poultry seasoning or some finely chopped fresh sage will enhance the flavor of the sauce.

tip 4

To Make Chicken Filling Ahead: prepare as directed in recipe. Spoon into airtight container; cover. Refrigerate up to 1 day. To bake, pour filling into 2-quart saucepan, heat over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently or until thoroughly heated. Assemble, fill and bake pie as directed in recipe.

tip 5

To Freeze Chicken Filling: prepare as directed in recipe. Cool, uncovered in refrigerator 30 minutes. Spoon mixture into 1-gallon freezer food storage plastic bag, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch at top of bag for expansion; seal. Freeze up to 1 month. To bake, thaw mixture overnight in refrigerator. Pour into 2-quart saucepan, heat over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently or until thoroughly heated. Assemble, fill and bake pie as directed in recipe.

Pumpkins

A pumpkin is, surprisingly, considered a fruit.

The name “pumpkin” comes from the German word “pepon,” meaning “large melon.”

It is believed that pumpkins originated in Central America over 7,500 years ago. Pumpkin seeds contain many health benefits as they’re filled with vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acids.

Pumpkin flowers are edible.

There are more than 45 different kinds of pumpkins.

Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica.

About 90% of a pumpkin is water.

The states that produce the most pumpkins include Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

80% of the pumpkin crop in the United States is available during October.

For pumpkins to be ready by Halloween, they must be planted between late May to early July, depending on the location.

According to the Morton Pumpkin Festival, “In 1978, the Governor of Illinois signed a proclamation that Morton, Illinois was the ‘Pumpkin Capital of the World’ since 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin was processed at their Libby’s Pumpkin plant.”

Many people think of pumpkins as orange, but they can also appear in shades of white, yellow, red, blue, or green.

Canned pumpkin is not actually just pumpkin, but made up of a variety of other squash.

Pumpkin shells used to be woven into mats.

Jack -o’-lanterns originated from an Irish myth, and before using pumpkins, people in Ireland and Scotland created these now-Halloween-staples with turnips and potatoes instead.

Pumpkins were once thought to be a cure for snakebites.

You should not carry a pumpkin by its stem, but use two hands instead.

After a pumpkin is cut, it will usually last about seven to 10 days.

Making pumpkin pies during the holidays became popular during the 1800s.

The heaviest pumpkin, according to the Guinness World Records, came from Germany in 2016, weighing 2,624.6 lb.

The largest pumpkin pie weighed in at 3,699 lb from New Bremen, Ohio, in 2010.

The current record for most pumpkins carved in one hour by an individual is 109.

The record for the most people carving pumpkins simultaneously is held at 1,060 people. This took place in New Mexico in 2013.

The Guinness World Records reports that the fastest 100 m ever paddled in a pumpkin (you read that right!) has been 2 minutes 0.3 seconds, which was set in 2013.