Yesterday I took the Gilligan Clan to our local pumpkin patch so the kids could pick out their own pumpkins to carve into Jack O’Lanterns. It was lovely day and great to spend some time outdoors with the kids that didn’t involve ice cream, juice boxes, wet clothes and sand in my navel.
They picked out a couple of nice ones and when I went to pay the little old lady informed me that they were $25 each!!!
What? For a pumpkin? Really? We don’t even eat them. We cut holes in them scoop out the innards, throw that in the garbage and stick a candle up it’s jacksy!
The price is due to the flooding up north from the hurricane apparently, so this year we are going to use every last bit of these pumpkins and I am going to show you how but first off, why do we even carve a pumpkin to begin with? Well let me tell you…
The story of the Jack O'Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree. When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down.
In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern."
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Toasted and salted, pumpkin seeds have a nutty flavor. They're even better flavored with sweet and savory spices
Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)
Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
Let cool and store in an air-tight container.
Pumpkin seeds aren’t just a good snack there are a multitude of health benefits associated with them such as…
Help stimulate appetite.
Beneficial for the teeth, gums, nerves, hair and nails.
Relieve nervous exhaustion, because it contains L-tryptophan, a compound that is effective against depression.
Relieve constipation, and catarrh, the condition of fluids running from mucous membranes.
Helps to reduce overweight or obesity and dissolves gall stones.
Helpful in cases of tuberculosis.
Help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Contain anti-inflammatory properties without the harmful side effect of anti-inflammatory drug.
Good for diabetics just like cucumber and bitter gourd.
Contains zinc that can be helpful in prostate problem. They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
Pumpkin seed contain phytosterols, compound found in a plant that is believed to reduce cholesterol level and prevent some cancers.
Helps prevent osteoporosis because of its calcium content
Fresh Pumpkin Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 apples, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh pumpkin ( roasted and diced, see note below)
1 tablespoon sage leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
salt & freshly ground black pepper
In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, apple, roasted
pumpkin, and sage until all are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a food mill; if you do not have a food mill, then puree in a food processor or blender. Return the puree to the stockpot, add the chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Then add the cream and simmer for 5 more minutes, lowering the heat if necessary so it does not boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Divide soup among 4 soup bowls and serve immediately.
COOKS NOTE: To roast pumpkin, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut whole pumpkin in half and then cut each half into several pieces. Discard seeds or reserve for another use. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender but not falling apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool, peel away skin, and dice.
AND FINALLY…What's the ratio of a pumpkin's circumference to its diameter?