October is filled with family traditions. And right on the heels of apple picking is a trip to the pumpkin patch. Nothing says Halloween quite like carving some jack-o-lanterns; our kids would never let a season go by without doing so. Shopping for the perfect pumpkin is not to be taken lightly. Plan a whole day if you can, that’s how long you might need for your child to pick their favorite one.
Holiday cooking: Ideas and recipes for Halloween.
This year, heading to a pumpkin patch was not in the cards (yes, hockey takes top priority now). Instead, we headed to one of our favorite markets, Stew Leonard’s. The store has so much going on this month, it turned out to be the perfect choice. In addition to “picking” pumpkins, I snuck in some food shopping as well.
More recipes: great one-post meals.
In the spirit of teaching my kids about eating locally and seasonally, we decided to carve our pumpkins and eat them too. Instead of dumping the pulp in the trash like we have in past, I put the boys to work. Sometimes it’s a challenge to entice my little guys into the kitchen but if they can touch something slimy it’s a game changer. Cleaning pumpkins is a messy job, somebody’s got to do it, why not your kids?
Once the messy part was done, we got inspired to break out some spices and make Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Not only is this a good way to get your kids in the kitchen it’s also providing a healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses. They are portable, kid-friendly and can be munched by the handful. And if your children are part of the cooking process, they will most likely eat the fruits of their labor!
Whether it’s a pumpkin patch or your local supermarket there are tons of places around Westchester to bring your family for pumpkin picking and Halloween fun. These are a few of our favorites:
Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm (Yorktown Heights) – The Pumpkin Patch is open daily thru the month of October.
Stuarts Fruit Farm (Granite, NY) – Take a hayride around the orchard, pick a few pumpkins, and visit the farm stand to buy fresh produce and the bakery for delicious apple cider donuts.
Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard (North Salem) – On weekends through October, enjoy “Fall Festivals” which offer live music, pumpkins, hayrides and more.
Stew Leonard’s (Yonkers) – This month the store has all sorts of Halloween activities including movie nights, hayrides, and a special Trick or Treat breakfast with costumed characters.
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin (yields about 1 cup of seeds)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp curry powder
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Wash pumpkin and slice in half.
- Then the fun part! Pull out the slimy pulp and extract the seeds. The seeds actually come apart fairly easily when the pulp is wet.
- Place seeds into a sieve and rinse off any excess slime. Lay seeds out on a baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels to remove most of the water. Then let seeds air dry for a few hours.
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Once the seeds are dry, place in small bowl and combine with the oil and spices. Mix until all the seeds are coated. Place back on the baking sheet in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally until seeds are slightly browned and crunchy. About 1 hour.
Roasted Curry Pumpkin Seeds
Ingredients (based on 1 cup of harvested seeds)
1 medium sugar pumpkin
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Wash pumpkin and slice in half. Then the fun part! Pull out the slimy pulp and extract the seeds. The seeds actually come apart fairly easily when the pulp is wet. Place seeds into a sieve and rinse off any excess slime. Lay seeds out on a baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels to remove most of the water. Then let seeds air dry for a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Once the seeds are dry, place in small bowl and combine with the oil and spices. Mix until all the seeds are coated. Place back on the baking sheet in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally until seeds are slightly toasted and crunchy. About 1 hour.
Remove, let cool and munch away.
And the verdict is:
Matthew (age 7): “Not crunchy enough”
Liam (age 5): “A little hard on my loose tooth”
Dylan (age 5): “I liked it only for a second”
Visit House of Bedlam for more kid-friendly recipes.