Have you carved your Halloween pumpkin yet? Here are a few short and sweet ideas to make your pumpkin carving experience TO DIE FOR.
Go pumpkin patching! Half the fun is picking out the pumpkin that will inevitably be your grand work of art. Here’s a rundown on a few good places to shop:
Avila Valley Barn (560 Avila Beach Dr.) is a fantastic place to hit! You can even take a free hayride to the pumpkin patch itself. They have a large variety of pumpkins, including gourds and blue pumpkins. The prices are hard to beat (39 cents a pound).
La Familia Pumpkin Patch (4737 Los Osos Valley Road) is a family-run farm that offers a large variety of pumpkins at fairly competitive prices.
Local grocery stores (Albertsons, Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, etc.) always have pumpkins available this time of year.
Sunny Acres (10660 Los Osos Valley Road) has a patch boasting large and small pumpkins. Better still, the farm helps support downtrodden workers.
Throw a party! Carving pumpkins is always an event. Invite guests over and have them bring a pumpkin and their favorite beverage. All you really need are some carving tools and extra newspapers to line your floors. If you really want to go all out, pick up some pumpkin carving stencil kits sold at local grocery stores, or download them from the Internet. Or just get creative with your designs! As guests scoop out the innards of their pumpkins, gather the seeds and bake them. Here’s a tasty recipe to attempt, courtesy of Arts Editor Anna Weltner’s stepmom, Brenda Weltner:
• seeds from one pumpkin
• olive oil
• salt (regular table salt)
• seasonings: curry, chili powder, cayenne, whatever your little heart desires
Gut the pumpkin and save the seeds.
Rinse the seeds in a colander and pull away any chunks or strings of pumpkin.
Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet.
Let dry several hours or overnight. Don’t try to dry the seeds with paper towels. The seeds will be sticky and slimy and you’ll end up with paper towel chunks all over them.
When the seeds are dry, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and add seasonings of your choice.
Place in an oven that has been preheated to 250 degrees and bake for an hour or so until golden brown.
Cool and eat!
(Visit Brenda’s blog at havencroft.blogspot.com.)
Intern Lindsey Leake compiled this week’s Bites. We want a Bite! Send us your food, wine, and related news at firstname.lastname@example.org.