During the months of October and November, pumpkins seem to be a staple: pumpkin patches, jack-o’-lanterns, fall pumpkins decorations, and pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are one of the most popular crops, with 1.5 billion being grown each year. With all that pumpkin, what else can you do with it? You can make your own pumpkin puree! You will need 2 pie pumpkins or 1 regular carving pumpkin. The pie pumpkins are easier to work with and have a sweeter taste. Follow these simple directions:
1) Wash your pumpkin under running water with a vegetable brush. Safely cut each pumpkin in half.
2) Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You can save them to make oven-roasted seeds!
3) Place the halves on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for about an hour. The peel will look wrinkled.
4) Remove from the oven and cool. When completely cooled, flip them over and scoop out the pumpkin with a spoon.
5) Place the pumpkin into a food processor. Puree until smooth. Refrigerate your puree or separate into 1 or 1 ½ cup portions and place in the freezer.
Look for a deep orange color when selecting pumpkins for eating. The skin and stem should be hard. Give the pumpkin a good thump. If it sounds hollow, it’s ripe! Raw pumpkins provide 26 calories and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. The seeds are edible!
Not quite ready to tackle making your own pumpkin puree? Canned pumpkin can be nutritious as well. However, there are some points to consider when purchasing canned items of all kinds. Canned goods get damaged often, but are those foods still safe to eat? Discard heavily rusted cans. Rusted cans can have tiny holes in them, allowing bacteria to enter. Surface rust that you can remove by rubbing with your finger or a paper towel is not serious. You can keep these foods. If you open the cans and there is rust inside, do not eat the food. Rust (oxidized iron) is not save to eat.
If a can containing food has a small dent, but is otherwise in good shape, the food should be safe to eat. Discard deeply dented cans. Deep dents often have sharp points. A sharp dent on either the top or side seam can damage the seam and allow bacteria to enter the can. Discard any can with a deep dent on a seam.
Now for a health tip. After dinner or on a weekend, get the family active by taking a walk around the neighborhood to look at the changing colors in the trees. Try to increase activity and decrease sedentary time every day.
4-H Project Show Results Revealed
Each year during National 4-H Week, the Hopkins County 4-H Project Show is held. Twenty-one projects were entered in the 2017 4-H Project Show. Even though the number is small, the quality was impressive! Below are the results:
Junior (grades 3-5):
- Jake Kempenaar – photography, blue ribbon
- Ashley Pace – baked goods, blue ribbon
- Marilena Reyes – photography (7 entries), 3 red ribbons, 4 blue ribbons; holiday, blue ribbon; woodworking, red ribbon; art, blue ribbon
Intermediate (grades 6-8):
- Madison Sperry – baked goods, red ribbon; art, blue ribbon
- Jacob George – general sewing, blue ribbon
- Honesty Bridges – general sewing, blue ribbon
- Eric Bridges – crafts, blue ribbon, Best of Show
- Ethan George – holiday, blue ribbon; woodworking, blue ribbon; art, blue ribbon
Senior (grades 9-12):
- Jorja Bessonett – clothing, blue ribbon
Best of Show entries:
– Baked goods: Ashley Pace
– Photography: Marilena Reyes
– Crafts: Eric Bridges
– Holiday: Ethan George
– Woodworking: Ethan George
– Art: Ethan George
– Sewing: Jorja Bessonett
Congratulations to each of these 4-H members! For more information about the Hopkins County 4-H program, contact us at 903-885-3443.
The best things are nearest…breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you – Robert Louis Stevenson