Poppy Post September 2018

How to pick and prepare the perfect pumpkin

Pumpkins are not just for Halloween! Tasty and nutritious, the seeds and the flesh can be used in a variety of dishes. You can bake them, boil them, steam them or even cook them in the microwave! Pumpkin is an excellent source of fibre, antioxidants and vitamin A. Its seeds are rich in iron and protein. 

How to buy pumpkins: 

For cooking purposes, small pie pumpkins are your best bet. They’re easier to prepare, and much sweeter. Look for firm pumpkins with smooth orange skin that feel heavy for their size. Avoid pumpkins with bruises or spots. 

(If shopping for Halloween, choose large pumpkins with thin walls to make carving easier. Look for ones with a strong stem and a round shape that will stand upright.) 

How to use pumpkins:

Pumpkins are tasty in pies, muffins, cakes, breads, casseroles and soups. Pumpkin is a good substitute in any recipe that calls for butternut squash or other winter squash. 

First, wash your pumpkin thoroughly. If steaming, peel it, seed it and cut into cubes. If roasting, cut your pumpkin in half and seed it. Once cooked, you can scoop the flesh from the hard outer peel and mash and puree it. 

Pumpkin seeds also make a tasty and healthy snack. Wash, then spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until golden brown and crunchy. 

How to store pumpkins:

You can keep whole pumpkins in a cool, dry spot for up to a month. Once cut, wrap your fresh pumpkin in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cooked pumpkin can be frozen for up to 10 months. 

One of our favourite pumpkin recipes: 
Pumpkin Butter
The fall-inspired recipe is perfect for a spread on muffins and scones, or in desserts. Layered into trifle, sandwiched between two cookies, or swirled into cheesecake and brownies, it’s sure to be your new comfort food.

1 (3 lb.) pie pumpkin
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Quarter pumpkin and remove seeds. Place pumpkin peel side up on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin quarters over, peel side down and roast an additional 20-30 minutes, until very soft. Remove pumpkin from oven and let cool.
  3. Scoop flesh from peel and puree in batches in a food processor. Transfer puree to a saucepot.
  4. Stir in apple cider, maple syrup, sugar and lemon juice. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into pumpkin mixture and then add remaining spices. Bring puree to a boil over medium-high heat stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Reduce heat to low, cover partially (to avoid splatters) and simmer an additional 20-30 minutes, or until thickened and it holds its shape on a spoon. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  5. Ladle hot pumpkin butter into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch (1-cm) headspace. Cool to room temperature. Place lids and bands on jars. Label and freeze for up to 1 year.


Founder & President
Thanks to Save on Foods Seton for supporting us in our mission of helping kids eat healthier. We couldn’t do it without you! ​

Roasted Chipotle Tomato Salsa
(+ our upcoming canning classes)


2 oz (56 g) chipotle chilies (we used canned chipotle chilies in adobe sauce)

1 head garlic, break in pieces

1 ½ oz dried chilies (about 12)

2 tsp granulated sugar

3 lb plum tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1 lb green peppers, halved

1 cup vinegar

½ lb onions, peeled


  1. Prepare a boiling water bath and place clean jars in the hot water bath to sterilize.

  2. Broil dried chilies, turning frequently, just until they start to char on all sides. Discard stems and seed pod. Place roasted chilies with chipotle chilies in a bowl with 2 cups boiling water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand to steep.

  3. Broil tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic cloves 15 to 20 minutes, turning to roast all sides. Peel and chop vegetables and place in a large saucepan. Puree chilies with soaking water and add puree to roasted vegetable mixture with sugar, salt and vinegar. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil and continue cooking 15 minutes.

  4. Fill hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Check for air bubbles. Wipe rims, cover with prepared lids. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Place in boiling water canner for 25 minutes (adjusted for Calgary altitude).

Adapted from Bernardin

Feeling a little intimidated by canning or preserving? Come to one of our upcoming classes! Click here for more.
Time to Salsa
  • September 23, 2018  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE
  • $75 includes all supplies for recipe made in class

Preserve the Harvest

  • September 29, 2018  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE
  • $75 includes all supplies for recipe made in class

Christmas Canning

  • December 1, 2018  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE
  • $70 includes all supplies for recipe made in class
Register for a Canning/Preserving Class
Cooking 101 Beginner Series – Seasonal Brunch – Bone Broths & Stocks and more

veggie flower

Here’s this month’s shopping list: 

Apples – Artichokes – Beans – Broccoli – Brussel Sprouts – Cabbage – Carrots – Cauliflower – Celery – Corn – Cucumbers – Eggplant  – Onions – Pears – Peas – Peppers  – Potatoes – Pumpkins – Spinach – Strawberries – Swiss Chard – Tomatoes – Winter Squash – Zucchini



Kids Cooking Bootcamp
Full-day camp on PD days  

  • September 21,  8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE
  •  $90 includes all food & supplies

Parent & Child Culinary Program SE
4-week cooking series for children 8+ and parents  

  • Sept 27 – Nov 1, 2018  6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE
  •  $275 includes all food & supplies
Register For Camps
Our Homesteaders camp kids made handmade bread, butter and jam from scratch. Yum! 

Cooking 101 – 4 Week Beginner Cooking Series

Oct 20 – Nov 10, 2018  9:30 am – 12:30 pm

South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE

$260 includes all supplies for recipes made in classes

Register for Cooking 101 for Adults
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