Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Scents of Fall in the Air.

The time of final harvest has begun; the Fall Equinox occurred on September 22nd.  How fitting was it then to see snow on the lovely Abajo Mountains the next morning?  The Horse Head outlined for all to see clearly; surrounded by warm colors of gold, red and orange from the changing leaves.  The temperatures have begun to change also with 30s during the night, 60s during the day, and maybe a 70 trying hard to hang on to summer.  Windows may be closed at night, but during the day opened to catch those clean breezes before the bitterness of winter winds. 

But wait, what are those scents that come upon those breezes?  It is not just the aromas coming from canning; peaches, apples, pears ready to be made into cobblers, pies and other tasty pastries during winter.  There are the last of the green beans, squash of yellow and green; tomatoes being made into sauces.  No, no, it’s something more; scents that have a heady aroma, a bite at the back of the tongue…cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.  It’s pumpkin time!  Pies, cakes, breads, cookies and soups; all spiced up and ready to be devoured with joy.

When I decided to do a pumpkin recipe for an article, I went through “The Mormon Pioneers Cookbook”, but only found one recipe, that being for Pumpkin Pie.  Now I had to do some thinking about the pioneers coming to Utah from the Eastern and Midwestern states, and the only recipe was for pumpkin pie?  Then it hit me, the San Juan County pioneers came from the western side of Utah much later than the Salt Lake City pioneers.  Growing pumpkins out there, even from seeds was probably not a picnic in the least.  Bringing seeds, using the waters from the San Juan River, or runoff from the Abajo Mountains; it still would have been many years before the soil was properly cultivated for good crop yields.  Now the one recipe made more sense, but I sort of feel sorry for all the good pumpkin eating these folks missed out on.

Never fear though, according to an article, “Pumpkins in the Garden” by Rick Heflebower and Dan Drost, Vegetable Specialists (Utah State University), “Autumn Gold, Connecticut Field, and Spirit Hybrid are large (18-25 lb.) fruited orange pumpkins that can be used for pies and carving. Jack Be Little, Wee-B-Little and Baby Bear are small (0.5-1.5 lb.) orange fruited types suited for small children. Lumina is a medium (8-14 lb.) white skinned pumpkin used for painting. Big Max and Big Moon can produce fruits that weigh in excess of 200 pounds. There are many other good pumpkin varieties for sale at local gardening outlets and through seed catalogs. Most grow well in Utah.” (  for the full article.)

In these modern times, driving to the local supermarket and purchasing canned pure pumpkin makes it all so easy.  Then again, seeing those dark green leaves shading white, orange and yellow pumpkins kind of brings a sigh to the heart.  It’s beautiful, it’s fall, and it’s pumpkin time.


Pumpkin Bread


2 cups cooked pumpkin puree or 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and allspice
½ tsp ground cloves


Preheat oven to 350; lightly butter and flour (or use baking spray) three loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together well the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; add 1/3 of dry mixture into pumpkin mixture and mix well; repeat until all dry ingredients have been incorporated into the wet mixture.


Divide batter between prepared loaf pans; use a soup ladle to get three full cups into each loaf pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out cleanly. Let loaves cool before inverting and removing.

Makes 3 loaves.

Mary Cokenour

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