October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Season

Even though summer is now but a fading memory, I think we all still remember how awesome the weather was across most of Canada. Not only did that mean quality sorbet-licking time, but also that growing conditions for much of Canada’s bounty were ideal. In Niagara the vintners are toasting their good fortune, and in the Annapolis Valley the apple farmers are munching to theirs.

One thing that comes with ideal growing conditions is earlier-than-usual harvests. Remember how early we got corn this year? And the tomatoes? Really, everything.

Now October is here, and besides being the harvest season, to me, it means three things:

1. A repeat airing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

2. Halloween!

3. Pumpkins! Carving them, looking at them, eating their seeds, and cooking and baking with them.

Photo Blog October 6 Pumpkin Season

Here’s the thing: Like everything else, pumpkins are in season earlier than usual this year, so get started now. No need to worry though — if a pumpkin is properly harvested and stored it can last up to four weeks, so Halloween will not be ruined. Not on my watch!

Here’s a recipe for my favourite part of the pumpkin, their seeds. When toasted, they have an addictive nutty flavour.

Photo Blog October 6 Pumpkin Season Granola

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Raw pumpkin seeds

Step 1: Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you’ve removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried). Place clean pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and allow to dry for a few hours, stirring once or twice.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 3: Drizzle dried pumpkin seeds with oil, sprinkle with seasoning salt, then toss to coat and spread seeds out evenly on the baking sheet again. Roast on bottom rack of the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden, stirring every five minutes.

Try adding your roasted pumpkin seeds to this Best Raw Granola Recipe (photo above).

Photo credits:
1. House & Home October 2009 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
2. House & Home May 2008 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson