“Country Pumpkin,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 73
After your pumpkin has had its day as a jack-o-lantern this year, remember that sad-looking thing is one of the richest sources of vitamin A. Don’t toss it out with the rest of the stale Halloween candy.
Pumpkin is nearly as rich in vitamin A as carrots and apricots, and it is lower in calories. Unsweetened, pumpkin tastes like its cousin, squash. Sweetened, it’s often a welcome substitute for yams, spinach, or broccoli as a source of vitamin A.
To prepare pumpkin for use in these recipes, cut it in half crosswise and remove the seeds. Scrape the center well. Bake it on a cookie sheet, cut side down, for at least an hour at 325 degrees. When it is tender and begins to fall apart, scrape the meat from the shell and strain it. It can be canned or frozen—unlike the delicate B vitamins, vitamin A is not destroyed by heat.
My friend Geni Sessions, now of Falls Church, Virginia, gave me this superb recipe for Pumpkin Bread when we were living on Guam. The first time I tried it, I doubled the recipe so I’d have extra loaves for the freezer but forgot to add the baking powder. We had four very large but flat loaves of pumpkin bread that were otherwise delicious.
Pumpkin Bread: In one bowl, combine 4 eggs, 2 c. pumpkin, 1 c. oil, 3 c. sugar. In another bowl combine 3 1/3 c. flour, 2 tsp. soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg. Combine the two mixtures. Stir in 1 c. raisins and 1 c. chopped nuts or coconut. Line two large loaf pans with waxed paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.
Pumpkin Cake: Cream 1/2 c. shortening and 1 1/4 c. sugar well. Mix in 1 c. pumpkin and 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Add 3/4 c. milk and 1 beaten egg. Sift together 1 T. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, and 2 1/4 c. flour. Add to moist ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes.
In place of the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice may be used.
The cake is moist and heavy, but it can be baked in nine-inch layer pans and frosted. Frosting alternatives include penoche, peanut butter, cranberry sauce, or raisin sauce.
Pumpkin Muffins: Beat 1 egg lightly; stir in 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 c. pumpkin, 1/4 c. melted butter or oil. In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. (If desired, use 1 tsp. pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg.) Stir liquid mixture into dry mixture, using 8–10 strokes. Add 1/2 c. raisins, stirring 6–8 additional strokes. Batter should be lumpy. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full, and sprinkle 1/4 tsp. sugar on each muffin before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 18–20 minutes. Yield: 12 large muffins.—Pamela Williams, Sanders, Arizona