By Stephanie Simmons, FoodCorps Fellow
Farm to School Month is pumpkin time in America! October is comfortably nestled between the last big bumper crops of summertime and a holiday where feast-laden tables take center stage. It’s also a season of bountiful orange harvest, and a wonderful time to explore the glories of the farm with students, from hayrides and apple picking trips to seeking hearty roots and greens to show off on cafeteria trays.
The pumpkin is a natural fall superstar, coming to maturity at just the right time to lend itself to spooky carved lanterns and sweet holiday pies. The fascinating story of how this came to be is even related in Cindy Ott’s page-turner paean to the pumpkin, “Pumpkin: The Curious History of An American Icon.”
In this great age of social media #challenges, what better time to issue a challenge that could forever springboard this deep orange, nutrient-loaded powerhouse of flavor from a brief seasonal curiosity to its rightful place as a fixture of our diets and self care routines?
The #pumpkinchallenge is simply this: Get yourself a fresh, tasty little sugar pumpkin, and find a recipe that transforms it into a mouthwatering, savory dish. WARNING: You may fall deep in love with the rich, satisfying flavor and texture of pumpkin, and find yourself craving it long after the passing of pumpkintime! Take heart: pumpkins are a winter squash, meaning they store long term incredibly well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ull8qfY2WiU
When you make a pumpkin dish you love, tag the photo and recipe with #pumpkinchallenge on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and we’ll add the photo to the recipe album on FoodCorps Georgia’s Facebook page! Then, issue the #pumpkinchallenge to family and friends! We will be posting pumpkin recipe inspiration to help you meet the challenge throughout October, so check back often!
Now, if you don’t want to donate a recipe, as the challenge tradition goes, you must photograph yourself doing something quite silly, and the #pumpkinchallenge is no different. If you are challenged, and choose not to donate a photo and recipe, you have to find a pumpkin large enough to fit over your head and post a photo of yourself wearing it. DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for any head-stuck-in-a-pumpkin tragedies, so please wear your pumpkins responsibly!
Make sure at a minimum to cut breathing holes in your pumpkin to avoid suffocation (BEFORE putting it on, of course)! Have a friend nearby who you can trust to free you from the pumpkin (as opposed to laughing hysterically while shooting a video they hope will go viral) in case of emergency. KIDS: Do not attempt to wear a pumpkin without the permission and supervision of a parent or guardian- we would much rather you convince them to put their head in the pumpkin, while you manage the camera! Note: Sticking your head in a pumpkin is likely to have numerous residual beauty benefits, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals, and therefore alleged to be fantastic for your skin and hair.
Now pass it on to your friends, and #pumpkinchallenge away!
Check out the Georgia Organics Good Food Guide to find a farmer selling pumpkins great and small near you!