Play with your food: Ten things to do with pumpkins

It’s pumpkin season at Prairie Gardens – where Tam and her team grow 100,000 pumpkins every year! Giant Jacks, ice blue (with and without belly buttons), green and bumpy, tiny and white – what are you going to do with all these? Make a pie or watch them fly – here are ten ways to play with pumpkins.

Haunted Pumpkin Fest

Pumpkin lovers start here at the Haunted Pumpkin Fest every weekend until Halloween (including Thanksgiving Monday). You could just come and buy a pumpkin from our market stall, but you’ll want to stick around for the music, puppets, magic, Squealy Moose moos and the delicious fire roasted food.

pirateShoot a pumpkin cannon

Speaking of festivities, try this: point to the gnarliest pumpkin you can find on the knobbly wobbly pile and then the pirate will load it up in a loud air cannon and shoot it at that there pirate ship over yonder. The old joke about the life of a pumpkin cannon pumpkin: Boom! Whee! Splat! And over the years, Farmer Tam’s brother’s contraption has raised over $10,000 for YESS Edmonton to reconnect kids to the world.

Make a pie

Classic pumpkin pie, always one cold in the fridge, Thanksgiving’s eggnog. Make one from scratch with one of these Taste at Home recipes Taste of Home’s Top Ten Pumpkin Pies – butter pecan, cream cheese or gingersnap pumpkin – win-win-win. But you may ask which kind – sugar, Kabocha or acorn? Use Cooking Channel’s guide to choosing a pie squash.

carve-itCarve it

Let your art out on the canvas of a gourd. Be brave and try something new – flowers, flames or fun crazy squigglies. To inspire you, here are 50 creative monster faces, owls and a magical carousel and check this list for a garden terrorizing snail!

Stuff your pumpkin

I have made baked stuffed pumpkin as a vegetarian side dish many times. Just cut the top off your pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and fill with your favourite dressing (with or without raisins). Keep it veggie with butter, fresh herbs and chestnuts. Make it sweet with an easy apple. Or add meat as in bread and sausage or Gruyere, bacon and green onion.

pumpkinpickupSavoury pumpkin

Pumpkins are great because they keep two to three months and when the snow comes and you miss the warmth of fall, you can always crack a pumpkin and revisit the harvest moon in the orange flesh. Then roast it at 350°C and use it in hummus, sweet & smoky roasted pumpkin soup, vegan pumpkin chili or pumpkin mac and cheese (makes so much sense!)

Paint it

You don’t have to carve it to make it art – try painting and accomplish something like these shiny Black cat o-lanterns. Here are 40 more painted pumpkin ideas – doughnuts, cactus, spiders, just doodles and the Teal Pumpkin Project to help kids with allergies stay safe on Halloween.

Roast the seeds

This has been a tradition in our house forever. Clean out your pumpkin, carve the pumpkin, roast the seeds. Turns out perfect roasted pumpkin seeds are cleaned very well, soaked, boiled and roasted with seasoning salt. Remember to toss a few dry seeds in a coffee filter before you soak and cook them, label with the date and plant them next spring.