There is nothing that compares to the smell of warm pumpkin bread coming out of the oven. The aroma of cloves, cinnamon, and pumpkin filled the house.
As Mama sliced a piece of the warm bread, our mouths begin to water with anticipation of enjoying that first bite!
Daddy and Mama always called me “punk’in.” It’s funny because growing up I had always associated my nickname with actual pumpkin! I chuckle when I think about that.
As young as I can remember, when autumn arrived there were certain things that had to happen for Mama to make her pumpkin bread.
- We must have had a frost.
- The air must be cool and crisp.
- It must be within a few weeks range ahead of Thanksgiving.
We only had pumpkin bread as children during this particular time range. I never understood why Mama didn’t make it year-round, but I am guessing because it was a seasonal tradition she wanted to reserve for that special time.
“Start your children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old,
they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Cooking with Mama
I can remember as a child and teenager I loved to help Mama cook her pumpkin bread. I only did bits and pieces of prep work and got to butter the top of the bread after it was pulled from the oven.
Mama carefully poured the mixture into many loaf pans and then placed them into the oven.
She angled each pan catty-cornered (pointed at an angle,) and then turned the oven light on and the timer. I would watch the pumpkin bread slowly rise and bake in the oven.
Once the bread was removed from the oven, Mama gave me an angled brush which I used to slather soft butter onto the tops and sides of the pumpkin bread.
Once done, my little brothers and I anxiously waited for her to slice a piece to enjoy. I can remember Daddy even waiting in line to get his warm piece.
Heaven in my mouth!
“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings, she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”
The pumpkin bread recipe was not passed down to me until I was 19 years old. I can remember it being a cool day in autumn when she handed it to me. She had handwritten the recipe on a piece of notebook paper.
Her handwritten recipe was a gift from her just before me, my husband, and our baby were shipping out to Spain. We were a brand new young military family going to live in Madrid, Spain.
I had carefully placed Mama’s recipe in my cookbook and tucked it amongst my clothes in my suitcase and off to Spain we went.
Once we arrived in Spain, found a home and settled in, I went to cooking. Her pumpkin bread was one of the first things I made. It failed miserably. I remember vividly crying wishing she was there to help me.
Over the years, I perfected my pumpkin bread. I carried the tradition of baking it every autumn when Thanksgiving was approaching. I now have a grown daughter that carries on this very tradition with her boys.
A Double Blessing
Mama always put her family first in all that she did. She had a giving spirit and the relentless hours she spent in the kitchen preparing meals, canning things, and baking was done out of love.
Her pumpkin bread recipe that I have is now a piece of worn, tattered and badly stained piece of paper. On the back of this recipe is where my daughter wrote me a note when she was 5 years old.
“I wont (want) apiano (piano) aydo (I do)”
She drew three crosses above her little note and told me:
- One was for me
- One was for her
- One was for Nana (Mama)
It’s been years since losing Mama, and this recipe holds a lot of memories of her.
Once a year I pull out this old tattered and worn piece of paper and bake Mama’s pumpkin bread. I love reminiscing of my time spent with her baking. My daughter’s little note on the back tugs at my heart as well.
For you see, I have double blessings in this recipe. Every time I pull out this recipe, it warms my heart thinking about both my Mama and my daughter when she was a tiny child.
A Blessing For You...
Mama’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Ingredients: (yields 2 large loaves or 4 small loaves)
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. cloves
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven at 325 degrees.
- Soak raisins in hot water to plump up. I usually let them sit for an hour. Drain raisins once plump.
- Spray loaf pans with non-stick spray.
- Beat 2 eggs.
- Add sugar, salt, oil, and canned pumpkin. Mix well.
- Add all dry ingredients to mixture. Mix well.
- Pour into loaf pans and place into oven to bake.
- Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes.
- Insert knife into middle of bread. If it comes out clean, bread is done.
- Remove from oven.
- Flip pumpkin bread out of loaf pans onto cooling rack.
- Generously brush with melted butter.
Tip If You Are Going To Freeze Pumpkin Bread:
While bread is still warm, double wrap it with plastic wrap and place in freezer while still warm. This traps moisture, and when you thaw the bread out, it is soft and very moist!