What’s In a Pumpkin?

Nora dissected her first pumpkin yesterday and it turned out to be interesting and fun work.  I think I might have built up the activity in her mind a bit much though, because as we were cutting open the top of the pumpkin she exclaimed, “Mom, I’m excited! I’m really excited!”, to which I replied, “Well, honey, it’s just seeds and pumpkin fruit in there, but I think that is exciting.”  (Yes, according to Wikipedia, a pumpkin is technically a fruit, from the gourd family.) When we opened the pumpkin she did not seem too disappointed, and I asked her to separate all the seeds for roasting from the slimy pumpkin hair.  I thought she would give up after about six seeds, but to my surprise she pulled out every single seed on her own.  We then scraped out the inside very well and placed it immediately into the fridge, because we will use our pumpkin as a soup tureen before it goes to the dark-side and becomes a jack-o’-lantern.  If you also want to try out the pumpkin tureen, be sure to scrub the outside of the pumpkin with soap and water and shine it up nicely. Our favorite Autumn soup is Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup.  (My Recipe Below)

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Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup

4 diced shallots (or 1 med onion)

1 rib celery, chopped

1 carrot chopped (I use only a small carrot, because they can overpower)

2 Tbsp butter

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped (you can buy them already chopped up at the store, which is what I do)

2 tart green apples, peeled, cored, chopped

3 cups veggie or chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt

Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom to taste ( ½ tsp each for me, or a bit less)

Set a large saucepan over medium-heat with your 2 Tbsp of butter, and sauté shallots, celery, and carrot for 5 minutes. You do not want the veggies to turn brown. Next add squash and apple, stir about 2 minutes, and then add broth and water.  Bring to boil, then turn down heat and cover pot with lid.  Simmer about 30 minutes, add spices, simmer 5 more minutes.  Let cool slightly before pouring into blender to puree (I like mine a little chunky). Then pour your soup into your festive pumpkin tureen and garnish with heavy cream and roasted pumpkin seeds. ☺

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One thought on “What’s In a Pumpkin?

  1. The slideshow is terrific and it is amazing what kids will stick with if they’re interested! Nora must not have minded the “gookiness” of the pumpkin—-that’s the part I always hated about separating the seeds. Great fun to roast/toast them too…..and then you can point out pumpkin seeds at the grocery stores……BTW, “punkin” is what most little kids call the pumPkin…they must not hear the P in the middle as well as at the beginning of the word. (Two other never-fail manglings are Libarry rather than LiBrary and ValentiMe’s Day rather than ValentiNe’s Day—-multiple syallabic words are really hard for them to remember…..when I was 6 I often got a “pernament”—those hideous home permanents and of course “pis-ghetti” for spaghetti!”)

    I think my most successful use of the entire pumpkin was keeping it for a month after it began to decay. I happened to find a dome-covered plastic cake tray in the school lunch room (empty of course—teachers are voracious eaters!) and popped the pumpkin carcass in there—-my most gifted K-1’s enjoyed watching it from day to day and made sketches in their science notebooks along with descriptions of the colors, smells, and what happens to “dead” things. The best part is that there is no smell really until you lift the lid and the whole thing could be thrown in the garbage when we were tired of it…..

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