How to Eat A Pumpkin: A Lesson From a 3 Year Old
From the time we took our 3 year old great-nephew to Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival, he has been obsessed with eating a pumpkin. It started as we were leaving the pumpkin patch. He asked if he could eat his pumpkin. We told him that he could make yummy things from his pumpkin, like pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread; but little did we know that this was NOT the end of this discussion.
Since he asked about eating his pumpkin a couple more times on the way home, I decided I should do a little research. I grew up with a garden in my backyard and we grew lots of fruits and vegetables. I have seen and eaten a lot of them raw, including peas and zucchini squash but I had never eaten a raw pumpkin. As a matter of fact, I had never eaten pumpkin in any form other than as some type of a dessert. I searched the internet for information and recipes. I did find out that it was safe to eat pumpkin raw but I didn’t have much luck in finding ways to cook it other than as an ingredient in a recipe.
I decided it was time for some experimenting with pumpkin. My niece, Nicole, dropped Jeremiah off with his pumpkins; the one he picked with us and one for us to carve into a jack-o-lantern. She informed me that he was still very interested and excited about eating his pumpkin. She said she even caught him, one day, sitting in the kitchen floor, on top of his jack-o-lantern pumpkin, with a fork in his hand and his small pumpkin sitting in front of him. When she asked him what he was doing he told her he was going to eat his pumpkin. She was able to convince him to wait.
Since Jeremiah was so interested in eating his pumpkin I didn’t want to buy canned pumpkin for our recipes. I wanted him to experience actually eating his pumpkin. So the first thing we needed to do was make pumpkin puree. I found instructions on The Pioneer Woman: Homemade Pumpkin Puree. (My daughter swears by this site.) I cut the pumpkin in half and he helped me scoop out the seeds and “guts”. We started out using spoons but found out our hands did a better job. We saved the seeds to roast later.
I had purchased an inexpensive child’s pumpkin carving set at the Dollar Tree. It had a safety knife in it. This way Jeremiah was able to help me cut up the pumpkin into pieces. It was a pretty flimsy knife. I’m going to have to find something better for him to use in the future. We got the pumpkin all cut up and onto a lined cookie sheet so we could pop it in the oven to roast.
While cutting up the pumpkin for roasting we did a little experiment. We tried eating the raw pumpkin. First, we each had a taste of just the plain, raw pumpkin. We both thought it was kind of tasteless. It wasn’t bad but there wasn’t anything special about it either. I thought it resembled raw zucchini. We then tried it with some salt. It was better with salt. Our next taste test was with cinnamon and sugar. Jeremiah really liked it this way and ate several pieces. I thought the experiment was over but Jeremiah wanted to try one more thing. He wanted to try it with cinnamon, sugar and salt. I can’t say I was overly excited about this one but in the true act of experimentation, I knew we should give it a try. Neither of us was very impressed with that taste, but at least we tried it.
Jeremiah and I discussed our little experiment and our findings. He decided that his favorite way to eat raw pumpkin was with cinnamon and sugar and mine was with salt.
I’m still not quite sure where Jeremiah got the extreme interest in eating his pumpkin. By the time children are three years old, they usually associate a pumpkin with Halloween and carving a jack-o-lantern but Jeremiah never mentioned that to us. All he ever talked about was eating his pumpkin. After doing a lot of thinking, I came up with a theory. Whenever we go pick apples, we pick them right off the tree and even eat some while we are picking. I believe that since we went to the pumpkin patch and picked the fresh pumpkin off the vine, Jeremiah thought was should be able to just eat it like we did the apples. Of course this is just a theory because only God understands the workings of a three year old boy’s mind.
Don’t miss my next post: How to Eat a Pumpkin, Part 2