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Waste Not, Want Not
by Judy Wolfram

     

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Let’s go pumpkin shopping. Here are some tips for you to choose the right pumpkin for your jack-o-lantern:

Make sure that you examine the rind. It should be firm, uniform in color and free of any cuts, bruises, marks and blemishes. Check the stem. It should not be brown and dry. Never pick the pumpkin up by the stem; pick it up by the base, because even a healthy stem can break off.

Give the pumpkin a knock with your knuckles. If you hear a thumping sound, it means that the pumpkin is solid and has no internal defects, rot or soft spots. Don’t carve your jack-o-lantern too early, as it will not survive until Halloween night. Once a pumpkin is cut, it only lasts four or five days.

Have some fun with the kids while carving your jack-o-lantern by playing all the Halloween-themed songs that you can find.

Use a serrated knife to cut out an opening around the stem. Cut the opening carefully and make a small notch in the back so you can replace the lid perfectly. Draw your face on the front of the pumpkin with a magic marker before you start to carve it. Scoop out the pulp and seeds with a large spoon. Scrape the sides clean of pulp and seeds before you put your candle in.

I know that a lot of you cut up and cook the pumpkin to make pies and other foods, so why not use the seeds too. Spread the seeds on a dish towel after you have washed off the pulp. When they are thoroughly dry, spread them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about one hour. When completely dry, add one tablespoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of celery salt and one teaspoon of ground cumin to a large skillet. Add the dried seeds and cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally. It will take about three minutes to lightly toast them. Enjoy them. You can use your own spices.

Now you have used all of your pumpkin and had some fun too.

My thought for the month is: Enjoy a safe and fun Halloween.

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