Time to fall for plethora of pumpkins

By Tammy Keith Published October 15, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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Anyone who has read this column for any length of time knows I have a slight obsession with pumpkins.

I don’t collect them year-round or anything, but I go crazy in October. I love the taste of pumpkin, the smell of pumpkins, the look of pumpkins, all colors. But not the warty ones. I am a purist.

I have a shirt that says, “I like pumpkin spice a latte.” I’ve had a few this year, but they are fattening. So is pumpkin pie, but this is the only time of year I make them. I haven’t started, but I will.

As much as I am tempted, I do not buy every pumpkin-flavored item on the market — cookies, cereal, ice cream, pasta, Peeps, English muffins, beer — ugh. Although I did break down and eat a Pumpkin Blizzard one night — a small one — that my husband bought for me. It would have been rude not to. My husband also bought pumpkin bread at the farmers market, but we gave it away.

Going to pick out the pumpkins for my porch is something I look forward to all year. It’s akin to the opening of duck season for my older son. I plan; I scout locations; I hunt. I do not have a limit, though. I even put out a few decoys every year — fake pumpkins with lights in them.

This year, I bought eight big ones and a few smaller pumpkins. It was a hard decision, and I lug several to the counter and then weigh the pros and cons of each, turning them and judging them. My husband spied some big fat ones with great stems (a must) at the grocery store, and he bought two to add to my display.

We stopped carving them when our two boys grew up because pumpkins last a lot longer not carved. We have a lot of pictures and good memories of pumpkin carving, including how our first cat absolutely loved eating the insides of the pumpkin.

My pumpkin pies are from the Libby recipe, although sometimes I use my dad’s trick and add Eagle Brand milk. My husband prefers the lighter version, though. I always cook two at a time; although, being a noncook, it makes me nervous to double the recipe. Therefore, I make one pie at a time.

You would think I’d know this by heart after all these years, but I still look at the back of the can to follow the recipe. I left out the sugar once; I am not to be trusted to freestyle.

I read an article this year that pumpkin-flavored items really don’t have pumpkin; they just have spices that fool you into tasting the pumpkin — ground cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger and clove. One of the coffee shops where I get pumpkin-flavored lattes told me they used real pumpkin last year, “but nobody seemed to care,” so it’s just spices and syrup. Another coffee shop touted its organic flavoring, and the barista read off the ingredients, which did include pumpkin puree.

The pumpkin craze has gotten out of control, I must admit. The other day, I saw an ad for pumpkin-scented deodorant.

I’m going to pass, but I might be open to shampoo.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.