did I get to this point? I asked myself as I mixed eggs and
nuts into the pumpkin bar recipe I was preparing to bake.
started slowly, I suppose. Every year about this time, pumpkin
products jump out at me from every direction. And I often
innocent enough at first. A little pumpkin soup here. A
pumpkin muffin there. But slowly, after each indulgence, I
found myself attracted more and more.
my pumpkin latte and thought about it long and hard.
it has entirely been my fault. Temptations are everywhere.
last week as I stood in line to pay for pumpkin crackers,
pumpkin butter and pumpkin body lotion, I admitted to the
checker that I tend to overindulge in pumpkin products this
time of year.
you haven’t even touched the surface," she reassured
me. "Did you see the pumpkin bagels and pumpkin cream
the pumpkin muffins are fabulous!"
I had to
confess these had been in my basket…but in a moment of
repentance, I had put them back on the shelf.
it that has me so enamored with pumpkins? A little research
was in order.
have been around for centuries and appear to have originated
in America, I learned. Native Americans ate pumpkins long
before the colonists discovered them, say historians.
to a website on the topic from the University of Illinois
Extension service, these large melons got their name from the
Greek word pepon which means…"large
to call them vegetables but pumpkins are really fruit — the
seed-bearing part of the plant, say experts. And pumpkins are
related to cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon as well as
squash and cucumbers.
orange pumpkins get their color from beta carotene — a
powerful antioxidant that protects the eyes from macular
degeneration, a serious eye disease. Beta carotene has also
been found to protect against breast and ovarian
my dear pumpkin is wonderfully dense in nutrients. According
to the University of California at Davis Vegetable
Research and Information Center, ½ cup of canned pumpkin
contains about 40 calories and packs a good dose of protein,
fiber, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E.
pie, say historians, originated with our colonist relatives…perhaps
my great-great grandmother? Someone anyway, had the great idea
to slice off the top, remove the seeds, and fill the pumpkin
cavity with milk, honey, and spices. This crustless pumpkin
"pie" was then baked over hot ashes.
pumpkin bars baked, I rearranged some pumpkins on the porch
and realized that these bright cheery melons — and the food
they provide — nourish my soul as well as my body. If only I
can be mindful of other not-so-healthful ingredients that
often accompany pumpkin treats.
just add a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to my coffee…