Wednesday, October 31, 2012

KAT'S COOKING KORNER: From the Patch

We have a penchance for accidental gardening around my house. I have sunflowers that spring forth by the dozens every year, with no effort from my hand. Little tomato plants emerge from the very soil where the previous year they flourished and fell back to earth. Seemingly magical or via the helping hand of friendly fairies perhaps? Raspberries aren't so shocking, but certainly a delicious fruit that requires little labour on my part. Wonderful, in my eyes, to be sure. Various herbs, whether perennial or annual, also return, often requiring a heavy hand to keep them in check. My oregano is prolific, thyme terrific and the cilantro and dill self-seed at will for both my use and many a neighbour.

Just about ripe
One other plant tends to return every year, which did not fail to materialize again this year. Cinderella's carriage be damned, this beauty is all about Halloween. Check it out! For whatever reason we only got one, but it was a lovely pumpkin none the less. And shocking to me, it was ripe by mid-August. I managed to convince the girls not to carve it in the heat of summer, as the odds of it lasting til October 31st once carved were nil, but whether it would survive intact til All Hallow's Eve was another question entirely.

Never fear, but it did! And yesterday was the day that we sliced into this bad boy. It was time to carve a Jack 'o Lantern!

The first step is always to draw a fearsome face in our family. Once the face is in place (try and carve that Mom!), then I plunge my knife into the top of the quaking squash and carve a lid for it.

Check out all those seeds!



The crafty Momma that I am, no way are we going to let those yummy bits go to waste. Time to get scooping!




A spoon can be handy to scrape the sides,





but sometimes only your hand will do to get right in there! Get digging!
Voila, empty!


And here we have the remains of the day

After much careful carving by my deft hand, two jolly Jack 'o Lanterns emerged that pleased my girls



Pumpkin Seeds Roasting
But what really pleased me were all those delicious little seeds that filled our two orange orbs. Gotta love roasted pumpkin seeds with just a hint of salt, plus a sprinkle of paprika. Set on low, and cooked til crunchy, these yummy treats are packed with iron, zinc, copper, phosphorous, manganese, tryptophan, magnesium and more. They are a source of vitamin E, full of antioxidants and even have anti-microbial benefits. Woohoo, and they taste good too! With a history dating back to 1300-1500 AD, that's a whole lot of goodness for a really long time.

Don't expect me to share my seasonal seeds with you though. I am a bit of a Halloween hog, when it comes to my pumpkin seeds. You'll have to carve your own pumpkin and make your own roasted seeds this week.

Happy Halloween!

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