Once upon a time, pumpkin came onto the scene as one of the top ingredients and flavors for fall. The gourd is a true Cinderella story, as the name itself dates back to the fairy tale and the 17th century, when they were first referred to in the name we now know them as.
Why do we love pumpkin so much this time of year? Firstly, it’s all about timing. Pumpkins are harvested in October, and they’re especially popular in the Midwest since Illinois is the largest pumpkin producing state, harvesting almost twice as many acres as the top producing states. Traditionally we carve them up in October and then eat them in November, and they’re so wildly popular for Thanksgiving that bakery pre-orders are a story of their own. Last year, Block Club Chicago published a story in mid-November about pre-ordering Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, largely due to the amount of ovens involved, storage space and baking time. Most bakeries started their pre-orders in October, and the LloydPans innovation team predicts with more Americans celebrating at home, the pre-order trend will be even more important this holiday season.
Even pumpkin pie can be innovative, and one such bakery, Spinning J in Humboldt Park, created a pumpkin pie last year that was a half-Libby, half-Japanese kabocha squash pie paired with yuzu cured in a brown butter shortbread crust. For a list of popular bakeries in Chicago doing some great work with pumpkin pies, check out Block Club’s story.
But, the pumpkin party isn’t just in the Midwest. Flour Bakery + Cafe topped Yelp’s Best Pumpkin Pies in Boston with its cinnamon and spice filling. Head to Portland for Pacific Pie Company’s pumpkin pie cheesecake, among others. No matter what type of pumpkin pie you’re creating for this year’s holiday season, the celebration perhaps will officially start on Oct. 26, National Pumpkin Day.
The LloydPans team hopes you live happily ever after — even after midnight.