Sep 1, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

by Kiku Reidhead

A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

As you may have noticed, we love pumpkins. When the fall leaves begin to change color, pumpkin finds its way into our cooking and d├ęcor. Pumpkins are simply the perfect way to celebrate fall. There are plenty of activities centered around pumpkins, so here is our collaboration of a bunch for you for a fun date.

Anyone can go to the grocery store and buy a pumpkin from September all the way through November. Did you know though that there are several pumpkin patches around Provo where you can go and pick your own?

Vineyard Garden Center in Orem. Vineyard Garden Center actually creates a Pumpkinland around Halloween time. It is geared toward a younger audience, but still just as fun. You and your date can go learn how pumpkins grow and pick your own.

Cornbelly's in Lehi. Cornbelly's has both a pumpkin patch and a corn maze. Go pick the perfect pumpkin and bring it home for cooking or jack-o-lantern making.

Hee Haw Farms in Springville. Hee Haw Farms hosts numerous events beginning the end of September and running through Halloween. You can take your pick of the perfect pumpkin from three different pumpkin patches. You also might decide to stay a while for a stroll through their corn maze.

South Ridge Farms in Santaquin. If you have time, consider driving south to Santaquin. South Ridge Farms has a large pumpkin patch and hayrides running every 15 minutes. You'll have to stop in the famous Red Barn for some chocolate covered cherries or kettle corn.

So, now you've picked your pumpkin, what do you do with it? If it's around Halloween then be creative and design a jack-o-lantern together and carve it. Save and clean the pumpkin seeds for eating (see below for how).

You can also use the pumpkin for pumpkin soup - a fall favorite of ours. This recipe may surprise you because we aren't making the soup out of pumpkin like you might expect, but we're using the pumpkin as a bowl for our own soup creation.

Soup in a Pumpkin
1 large pumpkin (or 4 to 5 small ones if you want to make individual servings)
vegetable or canola oil
a favorite soup recipe of your own
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a knife to carefully cut a lid in the top of your pumpkin(s) (usually in a circle around the stem). Use a large spoon to scoop out seeds. Scrape until inside is clean and free of loose pumpkin. Rub the insides and outside of the pumpkin(s) with oil and salt lightly. Place hollow pumpkin(s) on cookie sheet. Bake for about an hour, or until soft.
Meanwhile, cook the soup of your choice on the stove. We like hearty soups with beans, ground meat, onions, etc. to make a flavorful chili-like soup. Creamy soups work great too!
Pour prepared soup into baked pumpkins and serve. Be careful, it's hot!
Baked Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pick seeds out of the stringy pumpkin core. Rinse seeds. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet and spray or brush lightly with oil (olive, vegetable or canola is fine). Salt to taste. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until brown. Enjoy!

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