I had never heard of magic pumpkin seeds until this year. I don’t think TAMU had invented them until recently. When we went camping at Yogi-land Park near Waller, Sophia and Travis were given magic pumpkin seeds. Most likely, there was an exchange of currency between the parents and the staff, but that was not evident to the kids.
At 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, coveys of small children with pumpkin seeds tightly grasped in the hands rushed the pumpkin patch, a hay covered space, where they carefully, delicately placed the seed on the ground and covered it with a smattering of grassy dirt. The hard part was getting Travis to settle on a spot to plant his seed. He kept covering, digging up, moving, and covering again.
When we returned 3 hours later, the pumpkins covered the patch. Magic! The kids selected the perfect pumpkins and we took them back to the campsite. We had the option of painting the pumpkins but Sophia had one of those pumpkin carving books with tools and wanted us to carve the pumpkins.
I had never actually read the pumpkin carving directions. Sophia had selected Vampire Kitty from the book and she graciously selected Two Little Ghosts for Travis. One thing that I learned was that the pumpkin access hatch is best if made at the bottom of the pumpkin. For all of you who know that, pooey! It came as news to me.
The bottom access permits the candle (or flashlight) to rest on the ground and directly on the pumpkin. It also leaves the top intact and allows the pumpkin to sit up straight and make removing the seeds easier. The seed scooping and removal was partially made with the handy plastic scooper that came with the book. I’ve used an ice cream scoop and that seems to do better.
Enthusiastic 5 year olds make short work of the job. After drawing the designs on our pumpkins, GE and I had a carving contest to see which of us could finish first. I think there are better tools than the ones that came with the kit, but those tools work if you don’t rush.
I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to bully knives and glass grinders, pushing them to chop or grind faster than they may want to go. Invariably, I end up wounded. Shoving glass into the grinder results in thumb cuts or slips and knuckle grinds. Speed chopping just results in a mess or the need for Spidey band-aids.
Those little serrated knives that came with Sophia’s book do fine. Just have to take it easy. Funny how that works with most things. Don’t ask somebody or something to do something they aren’t designed to do and the job gets done quicker.
When we finished, Jonathan got the little flashlights and set up our handiwork. There were lots of beautifully carved and painted pumpkins but ours looked pretty good.
We didn’t save the seeds for toasting. It’s early in the season and I bet both GE and I will carve more pumpkins. But I found some helpful hints for pumpkin seed toasting in Sophia’s book, too. Since the hole at the bottom worked so well, I’ll probably (Do you hear that? Probably.) follow those suggestions, also.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipes
- One pumpkin
- Olive oil