A local pumpkin patch is a great place to get moving, enjoy nature and have fun as a family. Contact your local county Colorado State University Extension office for local farms or visit the Colorado Department of Agriculture for a list of local pumpkin patch locations.
Bring Home the Goodness
The bright orange color of pumpkins means they are loaded with a powerful antioxidant called beta- carotene. Diets high in beta-carotene help reduce the risk of many types of cancer, protect against heart disease, and promote eye health. Pumpkin and all types of Colorado squash are low calorie foods with few calories while providing a good source of fiber.
Cook a Whole Pumpkin
Wash outside of pumpkin. Cut in half cross wise and remove seeds and stringy flesh. Put flesh side down on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake at 325 F for approx. 1 hour, or until fork tender. Cool and scrape flesh from the shell. For pureed pumpkin, put it in a food processor.
Canned or pureed pumpkin can add a creamy texture to soups and stews. Pureed pumpkin can also be used to replace some of the fat in baked goods such as cakes and muffins. For a change of pace, try this Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffin recipe developed by a CSU student. Try adding pureed pumpkin, honey or sugar and pumpkin pie spice to you next fruit smoothie.
Roast the Pumpkin Seeds
For some people the best part of a pumpkin (or any winter squash) are the seeds inside. Cut open the pumpkin and with clean hands, scoop out all of the seeds and place them in a colander. Rinse away the stringy membrane and chunks of pumpkin. Place the drained seeds in a bowl and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the seeds on a foil-lined baking sheet, then sprinkle with your favorite seasoning salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.