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October’s Fruit of the Month — the Pumpkin


Nothing says “October” quite like the pumpkin. And yes, it is technically a fruit because it has seeds. And even if you carve your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, you can still enjoy those seeds as a tasty and nutritious snack. The shells are edible and a good source of fiber. Recipe below.

Locally-grown pumpkins are available at markets and fruit stands throughout the Smokies. But for children, there’s an exciting way to get a pumpkin in the Smokies. They can ride a train, visit a pumpkin patch, meet Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy and bring home their own pumpkin on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s annual Halloween-themed excursion. “Peanuts — The Great Pumpkin Patch Express” continues weekends through October 25. Trains depart the Bryson City depot.

Oven-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds
Cooking spray, olive oil, or butter
Optional: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or other seasoning of choice

Rinse pumpkin seeds. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp. Drain pumpkin seeds and discard pulp. Spread out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Bake about 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three months or refrigerate up to a year.

If you like your toasted pumpkin seeds extra-salty, soak overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups of water. Dry an additional day, then proceed as above.

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