Tuesday 23 October 2012

It's Pumpkin Time!

Fall is my favourite season for so many reasons. The crisp, cool fresh air, the colours, the holidays and the produce! Pumpkins are a symbol for the Autumn season and, although it can take a bit of work and planning, there is so much you can do with pumpkins in the classroom and in your nutrition programs.

Children love carving pumpkins and scooping out the insides. There's something about getting your hands dirty that most students enjoy.While you do this, there are some great math activities you can complete with students. Have students estimate the number of lines on the pumpkin or number of seeds within. They can write their estimates on notes and arrange them in a graph.

Also, when you're finished counting the seeds, they make for a great snack! You can season the seeds in any way. Salty, sweet, spicy or plain - they are very versatile. Below I've included two ways you could roast the seeds and enjoy as a snack.

Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds  
Servings: 2 cups

Seeds from 1 large Ontario Pumpkin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil or melted butter

Sugar Sweet Seasoning:
2 tbsp (25 mL) packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (0.5 mL) nutmeg
In small dish, combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Makes enough for 2 cups (500 mL) seeds.

Remove all strings and any remaining pulp from pumpkin seeds. Spread 2 cups (500 ml) seeds on large baking sheet with sides. Let stand at room temperature to dry, 3 to 4 hours or overnight, stirring once or twice.
When they are dry, gather seeds into middle of baking sheet; drizzle with oil or butter and sprinkle with salt, stirring until evenly coated. Spread out seeds on sheet. Leave them as is for a salty seasoning or sprinkle with sugar sweet seasoning, stirring to evenly coat seeds. Roast on bottom rack of 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden, stirring every 5 minutes. Turn into bowl.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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