Yay! It's the first day of October and, food nerd that I am, this makes me think of pumpkins. Every year, we head down to the local organic pumpkin patch (that's Chimney Rock for you Four Corners readers) and have some good old fun. As in hay rides (that involve no hay) and deliberating a little too much over the perfect pumpkins. We buy two: one for eating and one for carving. What do we do with them? Well, hang onto your scarecrow, this is gonna be exciting:
1. The eating pumpkin...Recently my 6-yr-old said: "You know why that pumpkin pie last year was so good? Because I was treating that little pumpkin like my specialist little baby. It probably felt so good inside."
Before you run to the bathroom in an attempt to purge from the excessive cuteness...let's talk about what we use the eating pumpkin for. We actually pick out a "pumpkin pie pumpkin" (that's really what it's called) to make, yes, pumpkin pies. Using home-cooked pumpkin really does give a bright, fresh flavor to pies. Any leftovers will then be frozen and used in soups and biscuits (we make rosemary-pumpkin biscuits). It's actually surprising how long pumpkin will stay good in the freezer. I just made those biscuits last week, in fact, with some pumpkin from last October. And, yes, they were still delicious!
2. The carving pumpkin...This must be, well, big. Big and orange. And, to be fair, we don't just carve it. We do eat the seeds. After scooping out the seeds (for me, this is conjuring up images of little arms, all coated in orange goop), we like to place them in a strainer. From there, we rinse them and separate the seeds from the pulp. And, boy am I glad my daughter likes this job! When all of the seeds are clean, I then toss them with a little oil (such as sunflower or non-virgin olive), seasoned salt, and garlic granules. Next, place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake at 350F, turning every 10 minutes, until nicely browned. When they're done, you'll have one of nature's perfect treats. Full of zinc, omega 3s, and fiber, pumpkin seeds are one delish snack that will love you back!