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Kids Club Vol. 35: Pumpkins



Welcome to the latest issue of our ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!

This month, we’re thinking about winter squash, specifically pumpkins. We can’t help it! We get excited about carving them, roasting their seeds, and learning all about them. Do you want to take a where-in-the-world pumpkin quiz? We’ve got that. Make a pumpkin smoothie? Try some estimating experiments? We’ve got those too. If you’re counting the days until Halloween, this newsletter is for you.


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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Like most orange-colored vegetables, pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, which keeps your eyes super healthy! And luckily you can just open a can of pumpkin instead of cooking your jack-o'-lantern. With its vanilla and spice flavors, this smoothie tastes like pie in a glass.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 Servings

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Dinner knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Blender (adult needed)


  • 1⁄4 cup orange juice
  • 1⁄4 cup milk
  • 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1⁄4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1⁄2 very ripe banana
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon and/or ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ice cubes


  • Put all the ingredients in the blender.
  • Put the top on tightly. Turn on the blender to medium speed and blend until the ice is chopped and the mixture is smooth, 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Divide the smoothie equally between 2 glasses and serve right away, or refrigerate up to 4 hours.


Waste Not: You will only use a part of the can of pumpkin puree, but don't waste it! Measure out 1/4-cupfuls of the rest of it, freeze them solid on a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet, then store them in a labeled plastic bag in the freezer, where they'll be ready for future smoothies!
"Dash" and "pinch" both mean an amount too small to measure. Usually a dash refers to a liquid (like vanilla or hot sauce) and a pinch refers to a powder (like cinnamon or red pepper flakes).

How to get the seeds out of a pumpkin

Before you can roast and eat its yummy seeds—and before you can turn it into a spooky jack-o’-lantern!—you need to get the inside of your pumpkin out. This is a very fun (and kind of weird) job.

Newspaper or large plastic bag
Sharp, heavy knife (adult needed)
Large metal spoon
Large bowl
Clean dish towel


  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper to protect it and keep your pumpkin from slipping. Ask your adult to use the knife to cut around the top of the pumpkin, making a lid with the stem in the middle. Pull the lid off.
  2. Use the spoon and your hands to scrape and pull all the seeds and stringy stuff (this is pulp and fiber) out of the pumpkin. Put all the pumpkin seeds and stringy stuff into the bowl and fill it with water.
  3. Use your fingers to separate the seeds from the pulp and fiber, and put the seeds in the colander (the stringy stuff is actually full of nutrients, so it’s OK if a little stays on). When you’ve got the seeds all pulled off, rinse them under cold water, then spread them on the dish towel to dry a bit before you roast them.

Photo by Nathan J Hilton from Pexels

Roasted Jack-O'-Lantern Seeds

Roasted Jack-O'-Lantern Seeds

Have a healthy snack before the trick-or-treating begins! Your pumpkin may have more or fewer seeds than 1 cup. You can just adjust the other ingredient amounts accordingly.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

kitchen gear

  • Colander or strainer
  • Clean dish towel
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Wooden spoon or silicone spatula
  • Potholders


  • 1 cup (or so) pumpkin or squash seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt


  • Turn the oven on and set the heat to 325 degrees.
  • Put the seeds in the colander or strainer and rinse well, but don’t worry if there’s still squash attached to them! (This is edible.) Blot them dry with the dish towel.
  • Put the seeds on the baking sheet and add the oil and salt. Mix everything together, then spread out the seeds in a single layer.
  • Once the oven temperature has reached 325 degrees, put the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the seeds are dry and golden brown, 15 to 40 minutes (this will depend on how big they are when you start, and how wet).
  • Set aside to cool, stirring with the spoon or spatula every 10 minutes or so. Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


When the seeds are almost done, stir in one of the following for the last 5 minutes or so of baking:
• 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1⁄2 teaspoon curry powder
• 1⁄2 teaspoon Old Bay or Creole spice blend
• 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Facts

  • The heaviest-ever pumpkin was grown by Mathias Willemijns in Belgium. It weighed in at 2,624.6 pounds on October 9, 2016.
  • Pumpkins (like other squash) are native to northeastern Mexico and southern United States. Fragments found in Mexico suggest that people were eating pumpkins over 10,000 years ago! 
  • Pumpkin chunking is a sport in which teams compete to build various mechanical devices—such as catapults and air cannons—designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. The Guinness World Record pumpkin chunking distance is 5,545.43 feet (about a tenth of a mile).

Photo by Jessica Lynn Lewis from Pexels

Many “pumpkin” flavored snacks and drinks don’t actually have any pumpkin in them! They contain the same spice blend as pumpkin pie—including cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg—and the familiar flavor combination tricks your brain into thinking it’s pumpkin.

Pumpkin Predictions

Before you carve your jack-o’-lantern, try these estimating experiments:

  1. Pick up your pumpkin. How heavy do you think it is? Write down your guess, then weigh your pumpkin to see how close you were. (If you have a bathroom scale, weigh yourself with and without the pumpkin, then subtract your weight to find the difference.)
  2. Look at your pumpkin. How big around do you think it is? Cut a piece of string that you think will just go around the widest part of the pumpkin. Now try it. Were you close? Once you get the right length of string, measure it. This is the circumference of the pumpkin. 
  3. Think about your pumpkin. Do you think it will float or sink in water? Why? Fill a deep kitchen sink or your bathtub and find out!

Photo by Nathan J Hilton from Pexels

Pumpkin quiz

Can you match up these pumpkin facts with their geographic locations?

  1. Pumpkins are grown on every continent in the world except ______.
  2. In ________ the leaves of the pumpkin are cooked and eaten like spinach.
  3. In _________ people traditionally carve jack-o’-lanterns not from pumpkins but from large turnips.
  4. There have been many versions of the Cinderella story around the world, but the first version to feature a pumpkin turning into a carriage was written in _______ in 1697.
  5. In ________ pumpkin is combined with cheese to make a traditional ravioli filling.



A. England, Scotland, and Ireland

B. Italy

C. Antarctica

D. Mexico, parts of Africa (including Kenya and Zambia), and parts of Asia (including China, Korea, and India)

E. France

Answers: 1 C; 2 D; 3 A; 4 E; 5 B

A Good Month

Think about October from the first day of the month to the last. What are five things about these four weeks that you’re thankful for? Start a list called “Good Things in October” and stick it to your refrigerator with a magnet. Encourage other people in your family or household to add to the list!

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Got More Squash? Try One of These Recipes

Pumpkin Loaf with Raisins and Dried Cherries
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Roasted Acorn Squash
Squashy Chili
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