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The Great Pumpkin

From festivals to pancakes, this squash delivers

The Dish this week features the orange orb belonging to the squash family, not Linus Van Pelt’s mythical creature. Useful both for food and fun, the pumpkin is an icon of fall and a symbol of the end of the harvest.
    Pick your own at a patch such as Knightongale Farm in Harwood, where owner Joel Greenwell commits 10 percent of his 90 acres to pumpkins.
    “People don’t realize the amount of work involved in growing pumpkins,” Greenwell told me. “The weather has been a challenge, and bugs and pests are always a menace.”
    If you plan to use your pumpkin in a recipe, be sure to purchase a cooking pumpkin, not your typical carving pumpkin. It makes or breaks a recipe, Greenwell advises.
    Brenda Conti of the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market encourages you to visit this Saturday’s Pumpkin Festival at the Riva Market. Find your pumpkin of choice, sip cider and tap your feet to live music (7am-noon). You’ll also find fresh ingredients and ready-made goodies.
    Whether you start from scratch or open a can, pumpkin is the star in Conti’s recipe —

Pumpkin Butter

30 ounces puréed pumpkin
8 ounces apple cider
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup local honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

    Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook till a teaspoon set on a saucer doesn’t bleed.
    Can or freeze.
    Chill before serving.

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Bay Weekly reader Eva O’Cronin tipped The Dish to The Breakfast Shoppe in Severna Park’s limited-release pumpkin pancakes. Owner Kyle Algaze says, “These pancakes are legendary. Each year we roll out our Fall Harvest Pumpkin Pancakes, and we can’t make them fast enough. Every order is three huge pancakes with our house-made cinnamon whipped cream, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar. The pancakes have a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, pumpkin, clove and nutmeg. We run them all the way until December 31. Some people wait all year long to come in just for the Fall Harvest Pancakes.”

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On the recreational front, Roundz Gourmet Market in Gambrills hosts a Fall Festival Saturday, October 20 (11:30am-3pm). Buy a pumpkin and start carving to enter Roundz’s first-ever Pumpkin Carving Contest. Prizes reward Scariest Pumpkin and Best Culinary-Inspired Pumpkin. All pumpkin carving proceeds benefit Crofton Food Pantry. Games and face painting are free. Of course, lots of good eats are available for purchase.