Pumpkins, or "pompions," were a standby of the early New England settlements.
An old verse goes:

For pottage, and puddings, and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies.

We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon;
If it were not for pumpkins, we should soon be undoon.



Everyone has their favorite method. Here's one that we recommend:

Rinse seeds well. Soak seeds for a day in salt water. Drain water and put seeds in single layer on cookie sheet. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F, stirring once or twice.


Or, if you want your seeds a little more quickly:

Wash seeds. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown. Stir occasionally. Roast plain, or sprinkle with salt.

From food writer Ellen Carlson, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press


Or, if you like it a little more complicated:

Mix 4-1/4 cups of raw pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon of oil, and one teaspoon of salt. Spread on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Let stand for 24 to 48 hours or until dry, stirring occasionally. Remove wax paper and toast seeds in a 325-degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. Let cool slightly, and pat seeds with paper towel to remove excess oil.


You can cook any pumpkin, although certain varieties are raised specifically for eating. These pie, or "sugar," pumpkins are smaller and sweeter than the pumpkins commonly used for jack-o'-lanterns, and they are the type that canning companies pack and send to your grocer's shelf. Here are three ways to cook a pumpkin, regardless of the variety:

TO BOIL: Wash and cut into chunks, remove seeds and strings. Place in kettle. Boil as you would a potato. Drain, remove rind, mash and use as you would use canned pumpkin.

TO STEAM: Cut in half. Peel. Remove seeds and strings. Place meat in steamer and cook until soft. Mash. Use as you would use canned pumpkin.

TO BAKE: Leave rind on, but cut in half. Remove seeds and strings. Place halves on baking sheet, rind side up. Place a small amount of water in pan. Bake in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Scrape out meat. Mash it. (Note: If pumpkin is too mushy, cook slightly to evaporate more moisture.) Use as you would canned pumpkin.

Once cooked and mashed, you can freeze your pumpkin and bake with it later!

From food writer Ellen Carlson, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press

PUMPKIN BARS ( a Downing Favorite!!!)

2 cups Pumpkin
4 Eggs
3/4 cup Oil
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Nuts (optional)

Mix pumpkin, eggs, oil and sugar. Add rest of ingredients. Pour into one 9x13 cake pan and one 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes.

FROSTING: Beat together 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup soft butter, 1-1/3 cup powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread on COOLED bars.


Ever tried eating the RIND of the pumpkin? John Salvino of Woodstock, Georgia, wanted to, so he devised this recipe, which he shared with us. We'll let John explain the story behind this:

(For Mom and all our Central Pennsylvania Friends and Family)

The inspiration for this recipe came one beautiful Autumn weekend while I was procrastinating from my duties as an environmental geologist. I had read Wayne Taylor's book Hope on the Tuscarora in which Mr. Taylor writes about his ancestors in the 1760's who lived in the central Pennsylvania mountains near present day Harrisburg; very close to where my own mother lived as a child of the Great Depression in a cabin along Roberts Valley Road. The book begins during happy times for the Taylor clan and describes the matriarch cooking and storing pumpkins for the Winter. Taylor describes a process of cooking the large orange squash down to a molasses and baking the entire pumpkin at which point the family enjoys eating the cooked pumpkin skins. With Halloween approaching, and as my children were carving this year's jack-o-lantern, I decided I would try to recreate this pumpkin pioneer snack. I first tried to contact Mr. Taylor, then tried to search the web for a recipe close to what I had envisioned in Taylor's writings. Without much luck, I simply got started with a nice size pumpkin that just fit on a baking pan. What I end up with was something whole lot like potato skin hors d'uvres. Try this or create your own variation. Pumpkins can tolerate almost any amount of salt, sweet or spice. Good Luck.

Begin with a preheated oven set at 325 degrees F
One medium size pumpkin (baking kind or even the ornamental jack-o-lantern kind which is what I use)
2 Tbls butter
3 Tbls salt
1/4 cup molasses or honey
2 Tbls cinnamon
1 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1/2 tbs cayenne (optional)

Halve the pumpkin cutting off the stem, then scoop out the seeds. (Save these seeds for roasting later.) Place the pumpkin shell-side-up on a baking sheet with a few spoonfuls of water. Bake at 325 for an hour, checking to make sure the top on the shell is not burning on the upper electrical element. Remove the shell and scrape out most but not all of the cooked pumpkin to use in muffins, pies and such. Leave about a 1/4 to 12 inch of pumpkin meat on the skin. Slice the skin into strips about 1 inch wide from the top to bottom along the natural lines in shell. Lay them flat, and then spread the butter and spices evenly.

Return the strips to the oven for 2 hours at a very low baking temperature of 150. Remove and enjoy them hot or store in the refrigerator and use as a side dish or appetizer. (Reheating them in the microwave is an option that works well, but may upset the pioneers.)

Good Morning Pumpkin Pancakes

Saw this one in the newspaper and thought we had to share it, since it calls for both pumpkin and honey! It's from "Best Recipes of the Great Food Companies" by Judith Anderson (Galahad Books, 1992).

2 Cups Bisquick mix
1-1/2 Cups (12-ounce can) undiluted evaporated milk
1/2 Cup Solid Pack Pumpkin
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Beat until smooth. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter onto heated and lightly greased griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Turn. Cook until golden. Serve with syrup, HONEY or jam.

Pumpkin Bread

This is Denise Wetterlind's Blue Ribbon Award Winner from the 1999 Minnesota State Fair -- it uses honey!

Cream together:
1/3 cup Shortening
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Add and mix well:
2 Eggs
1 cup Pumpkin
2 tbsp Buttermilk

Add and mix well:
2-1/4 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Stir in:
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Raisins

Pour into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 55-60 minutes. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

From Honey Bee Lines, a publication of the Minnesota Honey Producers Association.

Citrus Pumpkin Flans

Enjoy the flavor of pumpkin without the calories of a crust. Garnish the flans with glossy red pomegranate seeds for a unique touch.

2/3 cup Sugar
3/4 cup refrigerated or frozen Egg Product, thawed
3/4 cup Pumpkin
5 oz. can (2/3 cup) Evaporated Fat-Free Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp finely shredded Orange Peel
1 tsp Vanilla
Pomegranate Seeds (optional)

To caramelize sugar,* in a medium heavy skillet melt the 2/3 cup sugar over medium high heat. Do not stir sugar--just shake the skillet occasionally. when the sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar is golden brown. Quickly pour carmelized sugar into four 7-ounce custard cups. Tilt to evenly coat the bottoms of the custard cups.

Place cups in a baking pan. In a mixing bowl stir together the egg product, pumpkin, evaporated milk, the 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin pie spice, orange peel and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture over caramelezed sugar in cups. Place the pan on the oven rack. Pour boiling water into pan around cups to a depth of 1 inch.

Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centers comes out clean. Remove cups from pan. Cool slightly. Chill, covered, for 4 to 24 hours.

To serve, slip the point of a knife down the sides of the flan to let in air and loosen edges. Invert flans onto individual dessert dishes, scraping the caramelized sugar onto the flans. If desired, top with pomegranate seeds. Makes 4 servings.

*Note: to increase recipe, repeat the cramelizing step rather than melting additional sugar all at once.

From Lutheran Brotherhood Bond magazine.

Pumpkin Chowder -- Baked in a Pumpkin!

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 medium Pumpkin
7 TBSP Butter, divided
1 tsp Salt, divided
2/3 cup Chopped Onion
6 TBSP Butter
1-1/2 cups fine Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Sage
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 pinch coarse ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup diced Swiss Cheese
2-1/4 cups canned Chicken Broth (approx. 1-1/2 cans, 14 ounces each)
1/2 cup Whipping Cream
3 TBSP chopped fresh Parsley

To prepare oven, pumpkin:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove top of pumpkin as you would before carving it. Remove seeds and stringy guts. Wipe inside dry. Rub with 1 TBSP butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.

To make chowder:
In large saucepan, saute chopped onion in remaining 6 TBSP butter. Cook until translucent, stirring constantly. Add bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, sage, nutmeg and pepper. Stir. Remove from heat. Add Swiss cheese and chicken broth.

To bake chowder:
Pour into prepared pumpkin shell, leaving 2 inches headroom for expansion of soup while baking. Put top back on pumpkin. Place in baking pan. Bake for 90 minutes. Test for doneness. (Note: If pumkin isn't fully cooked, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 30 minutes more. Remove from oven. Add whipping cream, fresh parsley and additional chicken broth, if needed.

To serve:
Place baked pumpkin on dinner plate in center of table. Serve each person a bowl of chowder, plus some pumpkin meat from inside wall.

From Cherly Bunkow column, in St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Edna Downing's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1 Pumpkin, any size
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup quick oats
1-1/2 cup raisins (softened in water)
1 cup coconut

Place pumpkin on kitchen table where you can see it. Doesn't it look nice? Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add remaining ingredients and mix together well. Drop from teaspoon. Flatten with glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees (preheated oven) about 9-10 minutes, until set but not browned. Let cool to safe eating temperature. Sit at table and enjoy cookies while admiring pumpkin. (Highly recommended: Consume cookies with generous amount of milk.) This recipe is a family treasure, but since all the recipes on this page use pumpkin, we had to stretch a little!

Note: As above is Grandma's recipe, but you may with to try 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening instead of all butter. The cookies don't spread out as much that way. Why not make one batch each way??!! Bon appetite!

Amish Whoopie Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In one large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of vegetable oil with 2 cups brown sugar. Mix well.

In a second bowl, whisk 2 eggs, then add them to the first bowl. Continue stirring as you add 1-1/2 cups pumpkin and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

In a third bowl, combine the following dry ingredients:
3 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Allspice
1 tsp Salt

Add dry ingredients to first bowl and stir. The consistency will be similar to batter for pumpkin bread. Scoop 1/4-cup quantities of the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly bown. Cool slightly, remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Assemble by spreading your favorite vanilla frosting on one baked "cookie." Top with another to resemble a giant sandwich cookie. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Makes 10 pies.

From Donna Ericlson, in her newspaper column on parenting topics. Erickson is also the host of the Donna's Day TV program (www.donnasday.com).

Pumpkin Dessert

1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Coconut
1/2 cup margarine

4 cups Pumpkin
1/2 tsp Salt
1-1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1-1/2 cups Sugar
3 tbsp Flour
4 Eggs (beaten)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Whipped Cream (optional)

To make Base: Combine first 4 ingredients and put in 9 in. x 13 in. pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

To make Filling: Mix all ingredients and pour on base. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until silver knife, inserted, comes out clean. Top with whippped cream when cold.

From The Guide, the publication of the Equitable Reserve Association. Recipe credited to Janet Schmidtke, of the Faribault, Minnesota, area.


2 eight-ounce packages Cream Cheese, softened
1./2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Pumpkin
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 dash ground cloves
1 dash nutmeg
1 ready-to-use Graham Cracker Crumb Pie Crust (6 oz. or 9 inch)

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blended. Stir pumpkin and spices into 1 cup of the batter; pour remaining plain batter into crust. Top with pumpkin batter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Makes 8 servings.

From Kraft Foods.


2 cups Milk
2 packages (4 serving size) Vanilla Instant Sugar Free Pudding Mix
1 cup Pumpkin
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup thawed Sugar Free Cool Whip
1 baked Pie Shell

Combine ingredients -- beat on low for one minute. Pour into pie shell. Chill until set. Garnish with pecans and additional Cool Whip.


1 Spice Cake or Yellow Cake Mix (18.25 oz.)
1 package Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix (3.4 oz.)
4 Eggs
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil or Applesauce
1 cup Pumpkin
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Whipped Cream (optional)

In large mixing bowl combine first seven ingredients. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium for 4 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.


1 Egg
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Pumpkin
1/4 cup Oil
1 tsp grated Orange Rind
1-1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt (optional)

Beat together egg, milk, pumpkin, oil, and grated orange rind, mixing well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the wet mixture. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, and bake in pre-heated 375-dgree F. oven 20-25 minutes.


1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Raisins
1 cup Shortening
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 cup fresh or canned Pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Soda
1 cup Chopped Nuts

Pour boiling water over raisins in small bowl. Set aside. In large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Combine flour, baking powder and soda. Beat into pumpkin mixture until smooth. Drain raisins. Stir in nuts and raisins. Fill 12-15 greased muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake in 350-degree F. oven for 20 minutes.


8 cups cooked Pumpkin, pureed or mashed (or canned pumpkin)
8 cups Brown Sugar
Grated rind and juice from 4 lemons
1-1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Cloves

In heavy pot or kettle, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, lemon rind and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Cook over low heat for about 1 hour, stirring frequently. When mixture is very thick, yet easily spreadable, spoon into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Seal and process in hot-water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 6 pints.


1-1/4 cups Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
2 Eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups cooked Pumpkin
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
2-1/2 cups Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Lemon Extract
1 cup Raisins
1 cup Chopped Nuts
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, pumpkin, spices and salt. Sift flour and baking powder. Stir into sugar-butter mixture. Add lemon, raisins and nuts. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in 400-degree F. oven 15 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.


1 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Rum
2 cups Water
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

TO PREPARE RAISINS: In small saucepan over medium heat, combine raisins, rum, water, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until sugar is totally dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Pour into nonmetal bowl. Cover. Set aside for 1 hour.

2 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Cream
3 Eggs
2 cups all-purpose Flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat Pastry Flour (extra-fine grind)
1/4 cup Rice Flour or Cornstarch
1/4 cup Baking Powder
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Pumpkin (fresh puree or canned)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 to 2 cups Buttermilk

TO PREPARE PANCAKES: In small mixing bowl, combine vanilla, cream, eggs. Beat lightly to blend. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, rice flour or cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add pumpkin and cinnamon. Mix well. Add cream mixture. Beat at low speed until incorporated. Gradually add 1-1/2 cup buttermilk. Beat until batter is smooth and thick. Add remaining buttermilk as needed to reach desired consistency. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain any liquid from raisins. Stir raisins into batter.

TO COOK PANCAKES: Drop mounds of batter, approximately 1/4 cup, onto greased, hot griddle. Cook for 1-1/2 minutes per side, or until pancakes are cooked through and are a light golden brown.

Covered and refrigerated, the batter can be prepared ahead of time and stored overnight.

From the World Cafe in New York City.

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe to share? E-mail it to

mail ["at"] downingpumpkins [.com]

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