Before you take that sumptuous first bite out of your piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, you may want to take a moment to reflect on the dessert’s rich and fascinating history.
Folks in England were actually the first to introduce pumpkin pies to society in the mid-1500s. They quickly became a part of English culture and their popularity spread to America in the early 1600s by way of the Pilgrims.
In 1661, the Pilgrims included pumpkin pies in their three-day harvest celebration and by the 18th century, most Americans had adopted the tradition. In fact, the pies became so integral to the Thanksgiving meal that the people of Colchester, Connecticut postponed Thanksgiving for a week in 1705 because they were out of molasses to add to the recipe.
By the mid-19th century, pumpkin pie was at the center of pop culture and was frequently referred to in books, poems and advertisements. The famed abolitionist Sarah Josepha Hale, who is responsible for Thanksgiving being made a national holiday, referenced the pumpkin pie in her 1827 anti-slavery novel, “Northwood.”
In 1842, abolitionist Lydia Maria Child wrote her famous poem about a New England Thanksgiving that proclaimed, “Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!”
President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. By 1929, Libby’s meat-canning company of Chicago began manufacturing canned pumpkin, eliminating the need for cooks to roast and strain their own squash.
Today, no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without this wonderful and time-honored dessert – especially with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
FAST FACTS ABOUT PUMPKIN PIE
— The first published recipe for our modern version of pumpkin pie was included in the 1796 edition of “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons.
— Libby’s canned pumpkin is not actually pumpkin. It is Dickinson squash, which also has orange flesh.
— The town of Morton, Illinois, where Libby’s processing plant is located, is unofficially known as the pumpkin capital of the world.
— The world's largest pumpkin pie was made in New Bremen, Ohio, at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest on Sept. 25, 2010. The pie consisted of 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 2,796 eggs, 7 pounds of salt, 14.5 pounds of cinnamon, and 525 pounds of sugar. Its final weight was 3,699 pounds and it measured 20 feet in diameter.
— One slice of pumpkin pie is a significant source of water-soluble B vitamins. These vitamins are beneficial to healthy skin and eyes and also aid in appetite-control and optimum digestion, as well as weight maintenance.
Libby’s original pumpkin pie recipe from 1950
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can Libby's 100 percent Pure Pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 can Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk (12 fluid oz.)
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (4-cup volume)
Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl and stir in pumpkin and sugar/spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell and bake in preheated oven at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° and bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
— Recipe reprinted from www.libbyspumpkinpie.com.