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Blog Pumpkin Harvest Bars

Blog Pumpkin Harvest Bars

Most everyone with a vegetable garden has a prized crop, whether it be juicy red tomatoes, perfect pickling cukes, or a bountiful yield of tender beans. But perhaps the most impressive sight at harvest time is a patch full of golden-orange pumpkins. I don't just mean the ornamental variety that folks enter in fairs, the ones that gain 25 pounds a day and top out at upwards of 1,000 pounds. Regular "pie" pumpkins can be just as rewarding—and a lot easier—to grow. They're especially fun for kids to raise because the seeds are large and easy to plant, and the vines and fruit grow and develop rapidly. In fact, their long trailing vines is one reason gardeners shy away from them. But pumpkin plants can be located at the edge of the garden and gently trained to trail toward an unused area (or grass). Once harvested, you can store pumpkins whole, or you can cut and roast them (don't forget to save the seeds for a snack), scoop the flesh from the skin, puree, and freeze for anytime you want a pie, quick bread, or side dish.

To celebrate the pumpkin harvest, here's an easy and delicious recipe for pumpkin bars, adapted from one by Paula Deen. These bars are moist, with a fine grain, which makes them easy to cut into shapes such as the pumpkin. Baking them in a jellyroll pan also makes them easy to cut, but if you want thicker bars you can bake them in a 9 by 13-inch pan and increase the baking time by five minutes or so.

Did you plant a garden this year? I hope you're enjoying the fruits of the harvest.