Before you could roll up to Starbucks and ask for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, years prior to the pumpkin spice candy corn, and ages before pumpkin spice motor oil – well, jokin on that last one… hopefully it remains a joke… but you never know right? “New Pumpkin Spice Motor oil – smell Mom’s fresh and warm baked pumpkin pie as you drive down the road. Tired of the normal car smell? Well, come on down for our pumpkin spice motor oil and truly embrace the Holidays!” Yeah; seriously, let’s hope that day never comes. But really, before pumpkin became the patron food of the holiday season – we had a pretty interesting history with the delicious squash.
Long before the European explorers came to the Americas, Native people relied on the humble pumpkin; as well as winter squash, to make it through the harsh winters. Pumpkin flesh, seeds, and even the flowers were eaten; then the tough outer shells were dried and used as bowls and storage vessels.
When early explorers returned to Europe, they brought pumpkin seeds with them to grow and show their countrymen.Yet; they actually didn’t see pumpkin as a suitable food for people and had designated our favorite squash to the pigs! Well… and other animals. But -they still gave it to the livestock and didn’t make pies or other yummy pumpkin delicacies!
So; it’s Ironic that when Europeans settled North America, pumpkins and winter squash became an important staple in the early colonies. It was easy to grow, grew prolifically, and the fruits could be kept for months without spoiling, the dried flesh and seeds could last even longer.
Settlers tried to recreate foods that they were familiar with using what was available locally. For example, cream, sugar, eggs and spiced were poured into a hollowed out pumpkin, then buried with hot coals.This custard cooked in hollowed out pumpkins became the basis for what is the modern day pumpkin pie.
Today, pumpkin immediately brings thoughts of Autumn and Halloween to mind; as well as scores of yummy Thanksgiving and Christmas treats. But don’t just think about pumpkin as a holiday food. There are recipes that can be used any time of the year. For a food many once thought of as unsuitable for human consumptions, pumpkin has come a long way.
Here is one of our favorite recipes:
Thai Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk. This recipe is soooo scrumptious. Fresh pumpkin or winter squash can be used, but canned works just as well. If you don’t care about the soup being vegan, you can use meat bouillon in place of the veggie bouillon. Feel free to adjust the amounts of chili paste, garlic paste, and ginger paste to suit your tastes. You will need the following:
- ½ – 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
- ½ – 1 Tbsp crushed ginger
- ½ – 1 tbsp red chili paste
- 14 oz can solid pack pumpkin
- 1 Knorr vegetable bouillon cube, crumbled up
- 1 cup water
- 14oz can coconut milk (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish)
- Juice of half a lime or half a small lemon
- 3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Whisk together the garlic, ginger, red chili paste, pumpkin, bouillon, and water until well mixed. Bring to a simmer, and add the lime or lemon juice, sliced green onion, chopped cilantro, and ground black pepper. Simmer 4-5 minutes, and serve. Garish with a drizzle of coconut milk and a few spots of hot sauce. Serve over a scoop of rice or with a slice of buttered bread, and a green salad for a healthy meal. This recipe will make 3-4 servings.We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!