Pumpkin Seeds – What Ya Gonna Do?

OK, now we have done all the carving… what to do with all those seeds?

 

 

 

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A little research brings up an overwhelming array of information. I don’t know about you but I just want something simple and healthy and maybe a little fun and different for the kids to try. Let’s simplify.

According to Wikipedia: The hulled or semi-hulled seeds of pumpkins can be roasted and eaten as a snack, similar to the sunflower seed. Pumpkin seeds can be prepared for eating by first separating them from the orange pumpkin flesh, then coating them in a generally salty sauce (Worcestershire sauce, for example), after which the seeds are distributed upon a baking sheet, and then cooked in an oven at a relatively low temperature for a long period of time.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron, zinc, essential fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium… OK, this is getting to be a little much… You can read the article.

Since throwing things in the oven for an hour or two and stirring every 10 – 15 minutes is just not in MY game plan, this version from the Foodnetwork appeals to me:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from 1 large pumpkin, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Scatter pumpkin seeds onto a sheet pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for about 7 minutes, until light brown and crispy.

Yep, 7 minutes, I can handle that most days! Epicurious has a couple of interesting ideas.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted; 4 oz)
Put a 24- by 12-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor corners with pieces of tape. Bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until syrup registers 238°F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless). Remove from heat and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring until syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.
Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts completely (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, 4 to 5 minutes more (seeds will be toasted). Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll out(between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly. Remove top sheet of parchment and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom. (Alternately, break brittle into pieces once cool.)

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
4 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Preparation

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.
Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.


This one is from the one magazine that I have consistently subscribed to for years – Cooking Pleasures.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted and seasoned, pumpkin seeds make crunchy snacks and garnishes. Here’s a variation that’s subtly sweet with a spicy kick. Enjoy them on their own, sprinkled over a hearty soup or as a topping for a pear salad.

PUMPKIN SEEDS
2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup cleaned pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

SPICE MIXTURE
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Dash cayenne pepper

1. Combine water, honey and salt in medium bowl; stir to dissolve honey and salt. Add pumpkin seeds; let stand 1 to 2 hours. Drain well.

2. Heat oven to 350°F. Toss seeds with oil; spread on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until crispy and rich golden brown, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, combine all spice mixture ingredients in small bowl.

4. Pour seeds into medium bowl; sprinkle with spice mixture. Toss to blend. (Pumpkin seeds can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.)

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Somewhere along the way I did discover that these green things on the INSIDE of the HULL are the seeds. Both the seeds and the hull are edible so use your best judgment.

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Is Your Brain an Orchestra or a Computer?

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A new picture of the brain is gaining adherents. Perhaps the brain is not like a computer, but more like an orchestra, with billions of neurons cooperating to produce the symphony we call thought.

Check out the full article The Music of the Brain by Eric J. Lerner

Let’s keep working on creating and strengthening all those new neural pathways! Next week we will be moving from Feathers to Do-Si-Do with the Village classes. The Our Time classes have left behind the fish and are now discovering frogs. Young Child students are starting to learn to read quarter note rhythms now! ABC Music and Me 2-4 year old preschoolers are exploring different animal movements while the 4-6 year olds are discovering Bach and the ideas of staccato and legato.

Music is a Mind-Builder

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Another great article from the Omaha World-Herald.

Making a pitch for music. Music is a mind-builder.

Research has found that playing a musical instrument activates parts of the brain involved with logic, creativity and emotions, said Lance Nielsen, president of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and a Lincoln high school band teacher.

By contrast, people solving math problems or building things by hand use only the logical, left side of their brains.

“That says a lot about music, how important it is,” Nielsen said.

Joan Reist of Lincoln, a past president of the Music Teachers National Association, said a foundation for music education can begin when children are babies and toddlers, with activities geared to a child’s mental and physical development.

Families can provide this themselves or join in a group experience with such parent-child activities as Kindermusik or performance-oriented Suzuki programs, Reist said.

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For a more traditional approach to formal music education, starting at about age 7, both Nielsen and Reist like the piano. That’s because it teaches a child how to read music — both the bass and treble clefs — as well as the principles of melody, harmony and rhythm.

Although starting early is great, it’s never too late, said Nielsen.

“Anyone can play a musical instrument. It just takes a little time.”
— Staff writer Jane Palmer