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Tonight we're supposed to get our first frost of the season in some of the "hollers" between the hills.  The sky is clear and the moon almost round.  Yes, there is a chill in the air.  Enough of a chill that we turned on the pellet stove for the first time since June.
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Pumpkins at harvest
Pumpkins in History 

The use of pumpkins is for food dates back to the natives of the Americas.  They grew pumpkins and squash and developed many ways of preparing them.  The natives also taught the early settlers these ways with food. 

It's believed natives in Central America originally grew pumpkins.  Then those of North America adopted them for food.  Their various methods of preparation included baking, boiling, making pumpkin into a soup, drying it, and grinding this food into a meal they used for making breads. 

For winter use and preservation, the natives cut the pumpkins into rings and strips.  Then they hung them to dry.

Jack-o-Lanterns

Before long in our culture, children will be carving and painting faces on pumpkins to display for Halloween. They remind me of my childhood.  One year my sister carved a large pumpkin to place over her head as her costume. 

As I browsed through photos I'd taken over the years, I discovered many with pumpkins and autumn leaves, stonewalls along the roadside and across the fields, as well as children with their jack-o-lanterns..  From these, I created a colorful poetry scrapbook album, with the theme Autumn in New England. 

Pumpkin Pie
Many Pumpkin Recipes

You'll discover many ways to use pumpkins-from desserts to casseroles to breads and soups.  One recipe for Pumpkin Soup calls for it cooked in the rind.  I talked with a lady who said she did this and found the soup delicious.

According to an Early Pumpkin Pie Recipe, you cut a slice from the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and fill with cavity with milk, sugar, and spices.  Then you baked it until the pumpkin was cooked and center mixture thickened.

Pumpkin Souffle - Combine 1 cup canned or thick cooked, mashed pumpkin with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar and stir well. Beat 3 egg whites until stiff, then add 1/8 teaspoon salt and fold it into the pumpkin mixture.

Grease a 1-quart baking dish or mold and fill about 2/3 full with the pumpkin.  Set in a pan of hot water.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for abut 40 minutes.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

(c)Mary Emma Allen

 

(Mary Emma Allen enjoys autumn in New England with it's colorful foliage and pumpkin decorations.  She writes stories for children and adults and is celebrating her 50th year as a journalist.  E-mail: me.allen@juno.com )


 

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