Pipi’s Pasture: Thinking about ‘pumpkins’ — from minis, up to 110 pounds
Pumpkin patches and the pumpkins in them are high up on my list of favorite things.
During the days that we lived at Severance and our sons, Jody and Jamie, were young, we sometimes visited a pumpkin patch in the fall. Each of the boys got to pick out a pumpkin. It wasn’t that we didn’t grow pumpkins in our own garden; it was just fun to walk around in a great big pumpkin patch.
One year, we secured some extra garden space in a vacant lot next to our house. We used it to grow some Big Max pumpkins that often weigh around 110 pounds. Sure enough, we ended up with huge orange pumpkins.
I don’t remember if we weighed the pumpkins, but after we cut off the pumpkin tops and scooped out the seeds and fibers, Jody and Jamie could sit inside them. We even have pictures.
People drove by the pumpkin patch and offered us money for the pumpkins, but we saved them for the boys and their friends
Here at Pipi’s Pasture, we’ve always left part of the garden for a pumpkin patch — not a great big one but enough for several plants.
We have never tried to grow Big Max pumpkins here because the growing season is much shorter than that of Severance, but I enjoy planting different varieties of pumpkin seeds, some that do better than others.
One that has turned out well is the Cinderella Pumpkin, an elegant-looking pumpkin that is slightly flattened (perhaps like Cinderella’s coach) with prominent ribs.
However, my favorite pumpkins of all are the mini pumpkins such as the orange Jack Be Little variety, the mosaics and the little white ghosts.
I have always planted a lot of these pumpkins, partly so that Cindy, my daughter-in-law, has enough so that every first-grader in her classroom has one to use in a variety of classroom activities, such as math.
The mini pumpkins are great for decorating, too. They give the house a festive look when set on shelves and on tables.
Pumpkins can be used in lots of great recipes, including pie, cake, cookies, and bread. For a change of pace, this week’s column features a recipe for “Pumpkin Dump Cake,” one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!
1 large can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks melted margarine
1 cup chopped nuts (Optional)
Mix ingredients together and pour into a 9 x 3-inch cake pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top. Do not stir in. Pour melted margarine over the topping. Sprinkle nuts on top if desired. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream.
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