October is finally here. Crisp, bright days accompanied by cool nights make this the best time of year. All kinds of fun stuff happens in October… pumpkin carving, baking, leaf peeping, football games. I love the crinkly leaves and the sound they make when the wind catches them. Hoodies and jackets come out of the closet, apple cider is kept warm on the stove, and everyone is digging out their crock-pots again. If you are lucky, there is even a corn maze or pumpkin patch nearby that you can visit.
Every year when our kids were younger, we took them in early October to pick out their pumpkins. I remember Bobby and Danielle being so excited as they chose their perfect pumpkin. Then a few days before Halloween we would clean the guts out of the pumpkin and they would get to carve it. On Halloween night we would place lit candles inside the jack-o-lanterns so that their creations could come to life.
Before they got to the really fun part (using a knife), they had to do the messy stuff. Cleaning out a pumpkin can be kinda gross. It is wet, stringy and smells weird. I find it is easier to do if you use a big metal spoon to scrape all the fibers and seeds out into a big bowl. Then, by hand, sift through the mess and extract the seeds. If you are doing this with kids ( which I highly recommend), try to do it outside.
Toasting the seeds from your very own pumpkin is pretty cool. Plus, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that the seeds taste like popcorn. As our kids got older, we turned the pumpkin carving into an event. Other families joined in with us; all the Moms made soup in their crock pots to share, and it was a messy, but fun day. Just thinking about that makes me want to grab a mug of warm apple cider and visit a pumpkin patch. Enjoy!
1. After slicing the top off the pumpkin, use a big metal spoon to scrape the fibers and seeds into a bowl. The outer skin on my little pumpkin was 1/8 inch thick and hard as a rock. I had to have Mark slice the top off of the pumpkin for me.
2. Separate the seeds from the fibers (the gross part), and place in a bowl. Pick out as much of the fibers and mush as possible. Add water to cover the seeds. Let soak a few minutes and then drain in a colander. Using a paper towel, wipe the seeds. This will remove any remaining strings as well as dry the seeds.
Harvesting the seeds
Soaking the seeds
Seeds waiting to be baked
3. Sprinkle enough oil to lightly coat the seeds, salt them to your liking. Mix well and pour seeds on a baking sheet. Spread the seeds into a single layer. Bake at 300°F. for about 30-40 minutes, or until slightly browned.