Lisa Abraham

Our “This Week’s Harvest” feature comes to a close today.

It’s been five months since we began offering a weekly recipe to make with the vegetables or fruits that were in season that particular week.

The feature, concluding its seventh year in the Food section, has become popular with readers who are looking for ways to prepare some of the more unusual items they see at farmers markets, or perhaps are just looking for some inspiration for something new to make when faced with another zucchini or green pepper.

It will reappear in the spring, when local farmers markets begin again in earnest.

Most farmers markets are done for the season, but that doesn’t mean there will be a shortage of fresh, locally grown produce. The Haymaker’s Market in Kent and the Countryside Conservancy are starting their winter market schedules.

The Haymaker’s Market will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning Saturday through May 17, at the United Methodist Church’s Pierson Hall, 1435 E. Main St., Kent.

The Countryside Conservancy’s market moves from Howe Meadow in Cuyahoga Falls to Old Trail School, 2315 Ira Road, Bath Township, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning Nov. 9. Other market dates are Nov. 16 and 23, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, Jan. 18, Feb. 8 and 22, March 8 and 22, and April 19.

In addition this year, the Hudson Farmers Market has teamed up with Hattie Larlham to offer an indoor market at Hattie’s Cafe, corner of North Main Street at Clinton Street, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 21. The market is taking place in the space adjoining the cafe that was previously a gift shop.

As we head toward the holidays, it’s possible that some groups will decide to host holiday markets and we’ll let you know about those as they are scheduled. One already on the calendar is the Seville Farm Market Holiday Market, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 14, indoors at Seville United Methodist Church.

In addition to produce, meat and cheese, vendors at holiday markets typically will offer unique foods, crafts and gift items as well.

We’ll bid farewell to the market season with perhaps the most seasonal of all squashes, the pumpkin.

Look for the smaller, darker pumpkins marked pie pumpkins, not the traditional jack-o’-lantern style, which you can find at most pumpkin patches and farm stands, as well as winter farmers markets.

To use it as you would canned pumpkin puree, just scrub it well, cut it in half, and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Save the seeds for toasting separately. Place the halves on a baking sheet and roast them in a 350-degree oven until the flesh is very soft, usually an hour or two.

Once the pumpkin cools, scrape the flesh from the skin, put in a food processor and pulse to puree. Strain for several hours or overnight, and use as you would canned pumpkin puree.

Give it a try in this recipe for pumpkin muffins, which would be a perfect treat for Halloween or a Thanksgiving weekend brunch or breakfast.

STREUSEL PUMPKIN MUFFINS

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup pumpkin puree (see note)

½ cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 egg

¾ cup crushed gingersnaps (about 13 cookies)

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

3 tbsp. butter, softened

Sliced almonds, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cups in each of 12 regular size muffin cups; spray baking cups with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix 1½ cups flour, 1 cup brown sugar, the baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir in pumpkin, buttermilk, oil and egg just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix gingersnap crumbs, 3 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the butter with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in each cup.

Bake 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan to cooling rack. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

Editor’s note: Substitute canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix, for fresh pumpkin puree.

— Betty Crocker’s The Big Book of Bread

Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at labraham@thebeaconjournal.com. Find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @akronfoodie or visit my blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/lisa.