October 26th is National Pumpkin Day, a day to celebrate this versatile and delicious fruit. Pumpkins are a staple of the fall season, enjoyed for their sweet and savory flavors, as well as for their decorative value. And here on Abigail's Oven Blog and on Martha's YourSourdoughStart.com you will find ways to use the great gourd in sourdough recipes.
History of National Pumpkin Day
The exact origins of #NationalPumpkinDay are unknown, but it is thought to have been created in the early 2000s. The day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world. But pumpkins are native to North America and have been cultivated for thousands of years. So there may have been a pumpkin day long ago, but probably celebrated in a much different way.
Here are some fun facts about pumpkins:
- Pumpkins are actually a fruit, not a vegetable.
- Pumpkins originated in Central America over 7,500 years ago.
- The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed over 2,600 pounds.
- Pumpkins are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.
- Pumpkins can be used to make a variety of products, including food, cosmetics, and animal feed.
This hearty winter squash is grown both for its edible flesh and its decorative value. Pumpkins were an important food source for Native Americans; these days they are widely used in traditional cuisines around the world. Pumpkins are also a popular ingredient in many American dishes, such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin bread.
In addition to their culinary uses, pumpkins are also popular decorative items. They are often carved into jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween and used to create centerpieces and other decorations for fall gatherings.
Pumpkins are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. They are also low in calories and fat. Pumpkins are a versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed in many different ways. They are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.
How to Celebrate National Pumpkin Day
Here are some of the ways that pumpkins can be enjoyed:
- Pumpkin pie is a classic fall dessert. Pumpkin puree is combined with eggs, sugar, spices, and milk to create a rich and flavorful pie.
- Pumpkin soup is a hearty and satisfying meal. Pumpkin puree is combined with broth, vegetables, and spices to create a creamy and flavorful soup.
- Pumpkin bread is a moist and delicious snack or breakfast bread. Pumpkin puree is combined with flour, sugar, eggs, and spices to create a loaf of bread that is both sweet and savory, (see our recipe below or try one of these other recipes from our blog).
- Pumpkin carving is a fun and festive activity for the whole family. Pumpkins can be carved into jack-o'-lanterns, other Halloween characters, or even works of art.
- Pumpkin decorations are a popular way to add fall cheer to your home. Pumpkins can be painted, carved, or simply displayed on your porch or mantel.
Sourdough Pumpkin Bread
- 3/4 cup (180g) sourdough starter (discard)
- 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup (60g) chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sourdough starter, pumpkin puree, melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Stir in the walnuts, if desired.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.
- For a richer flavor, use freshly milled whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour.
- To make the bread even more moist, add 1/4 cup of sour cream or yogurt to the batter.
- For a spiced up pumpkin bread, add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves to the batter.
- To make a pumpkin raisin bread, add 1/2 cup of raisins to the batter.
Sourdough pumpkin bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, National Pumpkin Day is a great opportunity to enjoy this autumnal favorite, but when you do be sure to post pictures of your bakes using the hashtag #NationalPumpkinDay.