Pumpkin is a melon that grows on a vine which can be as long as 20 feet. Pumpkins can range from smaller sizes popular for jack-o-lanterns around Halloween to ones that can be over 100 pounds. Pumpkins need similar care as winter squash. Many pumpkin vines can produce copious numbers of vegetables. Fortunately, there are many recipes for ways to cook pumpkin. Pumpkin finger foods are a fun way to start using your pumpkin harvest.
Pumpkin seeds are an easy-to-make pumpkin finger food. You can make edible pumpkin seeds from the leftovers from jack-o-lanterns or from pumpkins where you are using the main flesh for another dish. To make edible pumpkin seeds, remove the seeds from the pumpkin and wash off all of the pulp. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet, if possible in a single layer, and sprinkle them with salt. Bake the seeds in an oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Check every five minutes and stir. Add more salt to taste, if necessary, while they are baking. Allow the seeds to cool before serving.
To make pumpkin chips, preheat oil to 375 degrees F in a frying pan or a deep fryer. If using a frying pan, make sure you have enough oil in the pan to float the pieces of pumpkin. Slice pieces of pumpkin to no more than 1/8 inch thick. The thinner the slices, the better. Drop a few pieces of pumpkin at a time and fry until browned. Remove from the oil and salt to taste. Serve the chips warm.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
To make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, line muffin tins with muffin papers. Mix 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup canned pumpkin and 1/4 cup water. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. ground clove, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. salt. Mix the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly before mixing the two together. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with the batter and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.