Wonder Wednesday #14: Estimation and the Sweet and Savory Pumpkin

Happy Wonder Wednesday! As you may have learned in yesterday’s post, pumpkins are pretty cool fruits (yep fruits). So, since this is Farm to School month, I created activities using something you could go to a farm and get, bring back to school, and enjoy through learning and eating!

Schedule your field trip to the pumpkin farm,  bring back some pumpkins of different sizes (for eating and experimenting on) and get started! Your taste buds will thank you!

Wonder Wednesday #14: Estimation and the Sweet and Savory Pumpkin

Recipes and Activities

Seeds

We all start with scooping out the seeds right, well let’s do some estimation first. Cut open one medium pumpkin and count how many seeds are inside. Then present larger and smaller pumpkins. Have the students use their estimation skills to predict how many seeds they will find inside each of the other pumpkins based on how many they know are in the original pumpkin. Then of course cut the other 2 open and find out how many are inside. I like to do all this counting on the afternoon circle in class.

Roasting pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, is a fun and easy cooking activity to do in class. You can decide if you want to go savory or sweet, or how about both! You’ll have enough seeds!

Ingredients:

pumpkin seeds

Organic olive oil

Sea salt

Unrefined organic sugar

Organic cinnamon

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350˚

Clean most of the pulp off the seeds and dry well before starting. This is a great job for the students to do. The drier they are to start, the crunchier they will be to finish.

Procedure:

Salty: In a bowl, toss a few tablespoons of olive oil and a  few teaspoons of sea salt with the seeds, making sure they all get coated.

Sweet: In a bowl, toss a few tablespoons of olive oil and a couple tablespoons of natural sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a dash of sea salt with the seeds, making sure they all get coated. If you want to get fancy and live where there are fresh oranges or apples to pick, you can juice an apple or an orange and add a couple teaspoons of the juice to the oil. You could also just add orange zest.

You will have to adjust your measurements depending on how many seeds you have, but you really can’t mess it up. If it tastes good pre-baked, it will taste even better after you bake them.

Bake the seeds: Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes until golden. You may want to shift them around a couple times to make sure they all toasty.

Let cool and enjoy! You can choose to eat the shells, spit them out, or remove them before eating. Eaters choice!

You can also take the seeds, grind them into pumpkin nut butter and enjoy on homemade bread! (Maybe with cranberry jelly, apple butter, or orange marmalade?) Yum! If you decide to do this, they will definitely need to be shelled first. Only grind the little green seed inside. You will need a nut butter grinder, special blender, or juicer with nut butter capabilities to do this.

pumpkinseeds

This is what the actual seeds look like without the shell.

The Pumpkins

I think this is so cool. Personal food is really cute, super fun, and children really seem to like it. The preparation makes a good classroom station, with a volunteer managing of course.

Ingredients:

Small hand size pumpkins

Sweet or savory filler of your choice, see below

Preparation:

Cut about a third off the top of the pumpkin (like a lid) and scoop out all the seeds and fibers, make sure there are none on the top also

Preheat over to 375˚

Procedure:

Sweet: add a few teaspoons of organic olive oil and organic brown sugar to each and brush around making sure the entire inside and inner side of the top is coated.

Put the lid on the top, put in a baking dish, add 1/3 cup of water, and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool a little bit and then enjoy.

They are perfectly delicious on their own, but if you want to get fancy, you can add ice cream, pudding, or a sweet filler of your choice.

Savory: add a few teaspoons of organic olive oil to each and brush around making sure the entire inside and inner side of the top is coated.

Put the lid on the top, put in a baking dish, add 1/3 cup of water, and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Prepare the filler- The amounts will depend on how many you are feeding, but think about a half cup of cooked rice per pumpkin to average.

Savory Ingredients: organic brown or wild rice, finely chopped organic celery, fresh picked and squeezed orange juice, and dried cranberries.

Boil the rice with a 2 to 1 ratio for about 45 minutes or until soft (or as the directions recommend).

Add the celery and cranberries to the rice and toss. Add more as seems appropriate. There should be a nice ratio.

Add about 3 tablespoons of the juice, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a dash of sea salt. Toss and taste. Add more to your quantity and liking.

Then fill the pumpkins with the rice mix and enjoy!

Seeds to Sprout:

Check out the nutrition stats on pumpkin seeds!

Did you miss yesterday’s post on Pumpkins (with the pumpkin nutrition stats)? Well check it out today!

Lots more recipes with mini pumpkins, some edible and some crafty. These may be my new favorite cutest food.

Stuffed-mini-pumpkins

Or just fill your baked pumpkins with the seeds you toasted! Easy. try mix matching sweet and savory!

photo credit skilletchronicles.com

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