Pumpkins aren’t just for carving

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RBC I Each month, the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown, raised or processed in the state. This month, Colorado pumpkins are featured in our Pumpkin Zucchini Walnut Bread recipe.
Pumpkins aren’t just for carving, they are tasty, too! When selecting that festive gourd, choose clean, well-shaped pumpkins with no cracks in the rind. Also avoid pumpkins with soft spots or decay. More than just a beautiful decoration, pumpkins are nutritious. They are fat free, sodium free, a good source of Vitamin C and an excellent source of Vitamin A. Look for fresh Colorado pumpkins at your local grocery store, farmers’ market or at pumpkin patches across the state.
Pumpkin Zucchini Walnut Bread, Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., Douglas County School District

1-1/4 cups sweet shortening
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin, solid pack
1 cup zucchini, seeded, shredded         (with skin on)
1 tbsp. maple extract
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp. vanilla paste
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
and chopped

In a small mixer with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each egg to ensure incorporation into the mix. Then add vanilla paste. Beat in pumpkin puree, shredded zucchini and maple extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and mix with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Spray a 10-inch loaf pan with a flour-containing baker’s non-stick spray.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pan and slightly agitate the pan to remove any air pockets. Bake at 350°F for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the loaf pan, then place onto a cooling rack and cool. Serve warm with cream cheese spread. Also great toasted or battered and used for French toast.
Visit www.colorado agriculture.com for a complete list of recipes and to find a pumpkin patch.