You have everything ready to carve a pumpkin with the kids this week. You picked out the perfect pumpkin. Picked up a new set of carving tools. And polled the kids on the best funny/scary face to carve. There’s only one thing left to think about. What to do with all those pumpkin seeds?
Option 1: Bake them for a tasty, healthy snack
Even if you are not a pumpkin flavor enthusiast, you may enjoy munching in some pumpkin seeds. With just a little seasoning you can bake pumpkin seeds to taste like just about anything you want. A quick Google search will give you flavors from traditional to Old Bay to barbecue. Choose a recipe your family will like and prepare to dry your seeds. Once you have cleaned all of the pumpkin pulp off, lay the pumpkins seeds out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Let them dry in a cool dry area for a few days. Once they are dry, you will want to toss the seeds with a little bit of vegetable oil. Roast at 375 degrees F, stirring them every 5 mins or so. They will be done in about 15 minutes. Then sprinkle seeds with the seasoning of your choice and enjoy.
Option 2: Save them to plant
Did you know pumpkins are actually relatively easy to grow? Maybe you should save your seeds and grow your own pumpkins for next fall. If you decide this little adventure is worth the undertaking you will want be careful removing the seeds when you open up your pumpkin.
First, remove the pulp and seeds from the pumpkin and place them in a colander. Next you want to remove the seeds from the pulp. Place the colander under running water. As the water runs over the pulp, start picking out the seeds from the pulp. Rinse them in the running water as you do. Do not let the pumpkin pulp sit in non-running water. You probably won’t be planting ALL of the seeds you dug out of your pumpkin. Instead choose the biggest seeds and put them on a paper towel to dry. Make sure the seeds are spaced out so they don’t stick to each other. Put the seeds in a cool, dry spot for one week. Then pack them up in an envelope for next spring. With any luck, you will have your own little pumpkin patch.
Option 3: Arts & crafts for the kids
Pumpkin seeds can be used in many arts and crafts with the kids. They are easy to paint and can be made into necklaces and bracelets or glued to paper in many unique ways. Our favorite craft is the pumpkin seed necklace.
For this activity you will need your pumpkin seeds roasted. Once you have cleaned them up and roasted them, you can start painting. You will want to set the seeds on tinfoil to dry. Choose Halloween or fall colors for a fun autumn craft. TIP: The painting part is quite messy so you will want to make sure you use washable paint. When the seeds are all painted and dry, you can begin threading them. Thread your needle with a length of thread long enough to go over your or your child’s head with 3 or 4 inches to spare. Put your seeds a few at a time on a pile on newspaper or a thin sponge. One by one push the needle down through the seed – when you have pierced the seed safely, pick it up and pull it through the thread. When your thread is about two thirds filled, knot the ends together tightly.
Note: you need a sharp needle for this so make sure children are well supervised or that an adult does the threading. For more on making a pumpkin seed necklace, visit: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/pumpkin-seed-necklace.
Hope you can make all those pumpkin seeds useful! And speaking of pumpkin seeds… have you entered our contest on Facebook? Guess how many seeds are in the giant pumpkin from the Fall Festival. Closest guess without going over wins $100 gift card to the Garden Center. Good luck!