I made the mistake a few years ago of posting on Facebook a declaration of my love of all things pumpkin. This announcement was made near the beginning of the pumpkin craze that is continuing to seasonally sweep America. Why I say it was a mistake is that since, everyone identifies me with pumpkin everything. (I suppose there are worse things to be associated with. Indeed.) I made the post prematurely as I had not done enough research to make such a bold and nervy statement. Do I love pumpkin? You bet your sweet pumpkin spiced @$$ I do. But the reality is that I love REAL pumpkin. I actually abhor fake pumpkin flavoring. Now that I’ve publicly made myself clear, I do actually love pumpkin season and I get a kick out of the whole craze.
The memes are hilarious. Pumpkin brake pads, pumpkin toilet paper, and pumpkin tampons are just a few of the autumnal giggles that I have enjoyed. And of course, at least one person will send each meme to me on Facebook, ‘cause, you, know…. Me + Pumpkin = Love, and all. (Please keep them coming. I do love them.)
Pumpkins are thought to have originated in North American with the oldest evidence, through pumpkin-related seeds found in Mexico, dating between 7000 and 5500 BC. They contain loads of antioxidants and are a great source of Vitamin A (20% DRA) contributing to healthy vision, neurological function and skin. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pumpkin production nearly doubled in value between 2001 and 2014 from $75 million to $143 million. (Imagine how those pumpkin spiced brake pads are contributing!) Even in an environmentally challenging year, the pumpkin still is the king of the crops, out performing other popular veggies like spinach, garlic and cucumbers. And Illinois is leading the proverbial patch producing 90% of all pumpkins used for canning. Thank you Illinois! The industry in IL dates back to the 1900’s when pumpkin processing plants were first established, solidifying the industry’s epicenter. (I was trying to see how many words that start with P that I could fit in one paragraph. Oh look! “Paragraph” – another one!! Booyah!)
Industries are thriving with the addition of pumpkin flavor (or the spices that we assume accompany pumpkin flavor). Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin Poptarts, pumpkin beer, pumpkin Oreos…there is an entire section at our grocery store dedicated to pumpkin flavored goodness. And if they slap “limited edition” on the packaging, there is a stampede in the seasonal section of the local Harris Teeter. I’m buying right into it. Literally. You can just stamp a big fat “pumpkin flavored sucker” right on my forehead, ‘cause if it says pumpkin on it, I’m going to buy it….at least once. But rest assured, if I don’t like it I won’t buy again. (I can’t afford to waste my calories on something I don’t like.)
All of those mass produced pumpkin treats are fine, but bring on the pumpkin baked goods. I have to thank the good Lord in Heaven that my husband and kids also love pumpkin, ‘cause momma’s gonna bake. I start “auditioning” Thanksgiving dessert recipes in September. (Don’t judge. I am VERY particular about my baked goods. But that’s a whole other post.) This year I had a burning desire to make pumpkin whoopie pies. They were RIDICULOUS! So delicious, but WAY too big. So, back to the drawing board I go.
My most successful pumpkin recipe that I hijacked from the internet is a mouthful (pun intended). It’s called Cinnamon Swirled Glazed Pumpkin Coffee Cake. If you are a true pumpkin lover, there is no need to try any other dessert. (Except maybe pumpkin cheesecake ‘cause, come on, it’s pumpkin…and cheesecake. Sigh.) This bad boy is like the moist (yeah, I said it) part of a muffin top, but allllll the way through to the bottom. Have mercy. (And you’re welcome for the recipe link. I got you.)
Anyhoo, I hope that you can land on a delicious pumpkin treat that makes you feel all cozy and fall-like inside. It is such a comforting flavor, and it’s a VEGETABLE! We’re practically eating salad y’all. Pumpkin on.
2 Screenshot from Google search “Pumpkin Spice Meme”
3 My mad Powerpoint skills. LOL.
4 Me messin’ around with LiveCollage. 🙂
5 Pumpkin Whoopie Pie batter.