When mentally picturing an early Thanksgiving, we usually think of a Pilgrim woman in a bleached starched white apron holding a pumpkin pie with a perfectly fluted crust. The truth is in fact, quite the opposite. The Pilgrims cut the top off of a pumpkin, scooped the seeds out, and filled the cavity with cream, honey, eggs and spices. They placed the top back on and carefully buried it in the hot ashes of a cooking fire. When finished cooking, they lifted this blackened item from the earth with no pastry shell whatsoever. They scooped the contents out along with the cooked flesh of the shell like a custard. Yumm!

Without pumpkins many of the early settlers might have died from starvation. The following poem is a testament to the Pilgrims dependence upon pumpkins for food:

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 be undoon.”

Pilgrim verse, circa 1633

In their day, the pumpkin, or pompion as it was called, got more respect. An important food source, pumpkins were crucial to their survival through the hungry winter months.

One of America’s oldest native crops, pumpkins were an important staple long before Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered them. Cultivated independently by the indigenous peoples of North and South America, pumpkins—or more accurately, pumpkin seeds—have been found at archaeological sites in the American southwest dating back six thousand years, as well as at sites throughout Mexico, Central and South America, and the eastern United States.

Evidently, seeds were the only part consumed by these ancient cultures because the flesh of most wild pumpkins was too bitter to eat. Once cultivation altered the pumpkin enough to make it palatable, Native Americans devoured every part of the plant—seeds, flesh, flowers, and leaves. Pumpkins and squashes of all sorts could be baked or roasted whole in the fire, cut up and boiled, or added to soup.

Colonial Englishwomen, following the English tradition of making pies out of just about anything, quickly figured out how to make a pumpkin pie, though they didn’t call it that. The first American cookbook, published in 1796 by Amelia Simmons, offers two recipes for pumpkin pudding, one with a “paste,” or crust, and one without. The pumpkin was to be stewed first, then cooked with cream, eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg, and ginger, and baked three-quarters of an hour—a recipe remarkably like the one on the label of the Libby pumpkin can.

According to Answer.com, over 50 million pumpkin pies are consumed by in America each year, the majority during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Information from http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Autumn09/pumpkins.cfm



Pumpkin Pie Fried Ice Cream


1/2 gallon Umpqua Pumpkin Pie ice cream, softened

3 cups crushed cornflakes

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Oil for deep-fat frying

Whipped cream, optional


Place nine 3-in. scoops of ice cream on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour or until firm.

In a shallow bowl, combine cornflake crumbs and cinnamon. Roll ice cream balls in crumb mixture. Place on baking sheet; freeze overnight. Wrap each scoop separately in plastic wrap; transfer to a freezer bag. May be frozen for up to 2 months.

In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Unwrap ice cream; fry one scoop at a time for 8-10 seconds. Place in chilled bowls; serve immediately. Top with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 9 servings.



Ice Cream Bread Recipe


1 cup Umpqua Pumpkin Pie ice cream, softened

3/4 cup self-rising flour

1 tablespoon sugar


In a small bowl, combine the ice cream, flour and sugar. Transfer to a 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (6 slices).

Editor’s Note: As a substitute for self-rising flour, place 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 3/4 cup



Giant Ice Cream Truffles


6 large scoops of Umpqua Pumpkin Pie ice cream

1/4 cup butter

8 oz  ) semisweet dark chocolate

1/4 cup Umpqua heavy cream



Place ice cream scoops on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours.

In saucepan, or double boiler, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cream. Transfer in a small pitcher or sauce boat. Cool at room temperature.

Place ice cream scoops on a cooling rack over a parchment paper. Gently poor chocolate sauce to coat the ice cream scoops. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours.