How to Eat a Pumpkin, Part 2
In my first post, How to Eat a Pumpkin: A Lesson From a 3 Year Old, you got to hear how my great-nephew was obsessed about eating a pumpkin. I mentioned how we conducted a little taste experiment. You can read more about that in the previous post. Now that Jeremiah had been given his chance to eat some pumpkin, I wanted him to find out how we could also cook with it.
As I mentioned in the previous post, 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 it, so we started out with instructions on making pumpkin puree from The Pioneer Woman. I cut the pumpkin in half and then we cleaned out the seeds and “guts”. Jeremiah helped me cut the pumpkin into pieces using an inferior child’s safety knife I purchased at Dollar Tree. It was safer than giving him a real knife but I’m going to have to look for something better for future use. We placed the pieces on a cookie sheet and I put it in the oven to roast.
After the pumpkin had completely cooled, Jeremiah and I broke it into smaller pieces and placed them in the food processor. I let him run the food processor while I got pictures. He wasn’t particularly impressed with the noise but he did like watching the process.
Once we had our puree we could start preparing our recipes.
The first recipe we tackled was Pumpkin Dip, found on Health.com. I did most of the measuring on this recipe. Jeremiah helped measure the maple syrup by holding the teaspoon while I poured. He helped me count 2 teaspoons. I gave him the opportunity to do the mixing with the electric mixer. He did a great job.
If you are going to have a little one help you with the mixing, I recommend getting a mixing bowl with a handle. I didn’t have to worry about fingers getting into the beaters because his “free” hand was busy holding the bowl still. Once it was all mixed well, I transferred the dip to a couple of storage bowls to save for later.
The next recipe we tackled was Buttermilk Pumpkin Waffles, from Taste of Home. It was breakfast time and we needed something to eat. I measured the dry ingredients and let Jeremiah dump them in the bowl. He then broke the eggs, into a separate bowl, and measured the pumpkin puree.
He is a very observant young man. Without any directions from me, other than “fill the measuring cup with pumpkin”, he would put a spoonful in and press it down with the back of the spoon. He had watched me do that with the brown sugar in the previous recipe.
I gave him a small whisk and he mixed the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin and butter together. We then dumped the mixture in with the dry ingredients and whisked that together.
Once it was mixed together, I poured the batter onto the waffle iron. The waffles turned out beautifully. I cut the waffle into strips so Jeremiah could dip it into the pumpkin dip. Either he was really hungry or really excited to eat his pumpkin waffles because when he first started he had a waffle strip in each hand. After a couple of bites with the pumpkin dip he decided he would rather have maple syrup. As for me and my husband, we really liked the dip with the waffles.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Last, but definitely not least, I cleaned up the pumpkin seeds. I then put the seeds in a bowl, covered them with water and added coarse sea salt. I let them soak for about an hour. Then I covered a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper, drained the water off the seeds and spread them on the parchment paper. I sprinkled a little more salt over the seeds. This time I used a finely ground sea salt. The oven was preheated to 450 degrees. I popped them in the oven for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. I could smell them getting toasty and when I saw they were starting to turn brown I took them out of the oven. From directions I had read, I should have sprayed them with some oil but I forgot. They turned out just fine, so I will probably not use oil the next time either.
Cooking with Jeremiah is a lot of fun. His enthusiasm with life is contagious. I may have never tried to eat raw pumpkin if he hadn’t been so insistent. I would still like to find some simple, non-dessert recipes for pumpkin. If you know of any, please share them with me.
And don’t forget, no cooking session is complete until you lick spatula!