Happy Halloween! Fall is here…the leaves are beautiful colors…pumpkins adorn our homes…and the holiday season is upon us! If you’re planning to buy a pumpkin – for decorating or for cooking – here are a few tips to help you make the best choice:
- Examine the rind. It should be firm, uniform in color, and free of cuts, bruises, and blemishes.
- Make sure that the stem doesn’t look brown and dry. And don’t use the stem as a handle, since even a healthy one can break off. Pick up a pumpkin by its base instead.
- Give the pumpkin a knock. A thumping sound means the pumpkin is solid, with no internal defects, rot, or soft spots.
And after you’ve cut your pumpkin, don’t throw away those seeds! There are many variations for roasted pumpkin seeds; here is one of our favorites, with just a little kick.
- 1 cup raw whole pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, or salt to taste
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
- Toss pumpkin seeds with paprika, Cajun seasoning, and salt until coated. Mix Worcestershire sauce with melted butter in a small bowl, pour over seeds, and stir to combine. Spread seeds onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Roast seeds in the preheated oven until browned and crunchy, 45 minutes to 1 hour; stir and turn seeds several times during roasting.
It's that time again when children enjoy dressing up and roaming the neighborhoods in search of some of their favorite candy. Here are some things you can do to help make this Halloween safer for everyone:
- Lighting: Make sure the pathway to your home is well lit. If you are using candles to light the way, make sure they are a safe distance from the sidewalk or driveway. Some children wear items made of paper or carry paper bags. If you are going to use the "dark" affect, make sure there are no tripping hazards in the way.
- Clothing: Use clothing or a costume that allows others to see your child from a safe distance. It's not uncommon for some children to ride their bikes, roller blades, or skateboards from house to house. Some children can travel at high speeds on these things and before you know it, they can be right on top of you.
- Candy: Talk with your children about not eating candy before they get home. Make sure you inspect all the candy. Anything that looks like it was tampered with should be thrown out. It's best to err on the safe side.
- Groups: Make sure your child walks or rides around with other children and never alone. Children should be told under no circumstance are they to go up to any vehicle or stranger during the evening. (I use the word “vehicle” because some children will think it’s okay to go up to a van or bus if you tell them to stay away from all cars.)
We hope that you and your family are enjoying fall and all that it has to offer!