By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Fall has arrived, and pumpkins, gourds and colorful autumn displays fill neighborhoods across the state. Pumpkins are among the most plentiful this time of year, and Kay County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) members learned many ways to take advantage of those popular orange fruits at the September Kay County OHCE leader lesson.
The lesson, ‘Everything Pumpkin,’ was facilitated by Kay County Extension Food and Consumer Sciences Educator Brenda Medlock in the meeting room at Newkirk Public Library at 1 p.m. Sept. 30.
Pumpkins are members of the cucurbit family, which also includes squash, melons and gourds. They range in size from mini pumpkins to pie and Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, with some being much larger and heavier. They can be grown across the globe.
“They grow in six out of seven continents,” Medlock said.
Pumpkins have many uses, not least of which is culinary. They can be used for many treats, from bread and muffins to pie, and even soup. The seeds can be baked as a snack, and they have a high nutritional value.
“One cup of pumpkin has only 49 calories. They are low-fat, and have lots of vitamins and minerals,” Medlock said.
They are also popular as fall decorations, when they are ripened to a bright orange, yellow or white.
“There are so many things you can do with them, and many people have a festive fall display with pumpkins,” Medlock said.
While pumpkins are often associated with fall, one of their most popular uses is as a Jack-o-lantern for Halloween, when larger pumpkins are creatively carved, some with scary imagery and candle lighting.
“There are plenty of ways of carving them and creating characters,” Medlock said.
For some, it may simply be a time to spend quality time together, doing creative activities.
“It is a fun way to have family time by carving pumpkins and baking pie,” Medlock said.
The Kay County OHCE program contains six clubs across the county, including Kildare; Nardin; Fun and Fundamental, Peckham; and Happy Hearts and Homes, Caring Hands and Hearts and Creative Homemakers, all of Ponca City.
For more information about Kay County OHCE, including membership, contact the Kay County Extension, located in the Kay County Courthouse, 201 S. Main, at (580) 362-3194.