Once there was a pumpkin…a bright orange pumpkin with dimples, scratches and shine. She loved the two curious little boys who had plucked her from the pumpkin patch. Everyday the boys would come and play with her; pick her up by the stem and gently place her back on the hearth.
They would draw silly faces on her, pretend she was guarding a fortress filled with smaller gourds, and move her to a shady spot when the sun shined bright in the room. And one day, near Halloween’s eve, they helped carve her into a spooky Jack O’ Lantern.
Pumpkin carving just wouldn’t be complete without roasting the seeds. The boys look forward to seasoning, roasting and munching on the crispy seeds hot out of the oven. Long about now dusk comes and the candle in their Jack O’ Lantern burns bright through her carved face. And we read “The Giving Tree” by the Jack O’ Lantern’s flickering light.
How could one pumpkin give so much joy?
Simple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 ½ cups raw, fresh pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rinse pumpkin seeds in a colander under cold water to separate the seeds from the pulp. Dry on paper towels. Toss seeds with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt. Spread seeds out evenly onto a baking pan and bake, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Olive Oil-Rosemary: 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 sprig fresh rosemary, broken into pieces
- Cinnamon-Sugar: omit salt, 1 tablespoon brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Garlic-Parmesan: 1 teaspoon garlic powder + 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Chili-Garlic: 1 teaspoon chili powder (like ancho or chipotle) + 1 teaspoon garlic powder + a pinch of crushed red pepper
Halloween is special in so many ways for Benny and Nicky, but their pumpkin friend is most special, because the boys adore her when she is young and plump, and mourn her when she’s old and soggy. She is a brief lesson in the cycle of life. Happy Halloween!
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