Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Eat or Not to Eat Part I: Nature Study at Thanksgiving

Because of our hectic fall, we missed out on hitting the pumpkin patch last month and, to my chagrin, I could not find any pumpkins for a pumpkin nature study. I read through the pages on pumpkin in the the Comstock Nature Study book for inspiration. We did the next best thing and studied another member of the squash family: butternut squash. We did an indoor outdoor challenge by studying the ripened fruit. For a practical application of what she is learning in pre-algebra, Pamela measured the circumference of the squash at its neck and its widest diameter, which she found to be 23.2 centimeters and 40.7 centimeters, and will calculate their diameters when we do math next week. I created my own nature journal sheet, not as fancy as what Barb usually does, but it worked for us. Pamela studied the fruit using her senses, and her observation that interested me most was that the squash smelled like carrots. With Thanksgiving looming, we decided to put the squash "fruit" to good use by roasting the seeds and making pudding.

We adapted a recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds to squash seeds. Scooping out the pulp with an ice cream scooper disgusted Pamela, so I pulled out the large seeds with my fingers. Since she disliked the sliminess, I gave Pamela a spatula, which she found awkward, so she finally dumped them onto the sheet. I loved her problem solving skills!

How did they taste? We had a hung jury. Had I not over-roasted them, I think they would have been quite tasty! We sampled the least crispy ones of the batch--Pamela found it nasty, but I think roasted squash seeds have potential, baring my tendency to lose track of the timer. Note: David has rightfully asked me not to burn the pizza on occasion . . .
The second thing we made with squash was pudding! I adapted a buttnernut squash pudding recipe by substituting coconut milk for the evaporated milk (the same trick I use for pumpkin pie) and brown sugar for white because I felt like it. Pamela helped me by squashing the squash and spooning it into the blender. I didn't mind doing the rest since we had accomplished so much with one squash. Does she still think butternut squash reminds her of carrots? Nope, she wrote on her sheet that it reminded her of P. P. . . . mmmmm . . . pumpkin pie . . .


Barb said...

I think this was a fantastic study that indeed substituted nicely for the pumpkin study.

I would love to try your recipe soon!

Thanks so much for your thorough and interesting post for this challenge.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Adelaide Dupont said...

Butternut squash is quite tasty!

It's the standard around here.

Great to see the pictures of Pam cooking.

walking said...

Adelaide, Pamela is very adept at using the microwave, and she enjoys helping me in the kitchen when we do something special. She is very conscientious about being GF/CF too and we do try hard to make sure she gets pumpkin pie with whipped topping just like everyone else, only without the gluten and casein!

Adelaide Dupont said...

Whipped topping must be yummy!

A lot of people would say it was their Thanksgiving highlight, along with the stuffings and things which don't need recipes.

JamBerry said...

We eat winter squashes around here too, but haven't done the in depth study on them!
Last week we tried two new (to us) squashes--Delicata and Carnival. The meat was scrumptious and the roasted seeds were SO tasty! Habeeb described them as "rich" in comparison to roasted pumpkin or butternut squash seeds.
And yes, overcooked seeds are nasty! I do that probably every 3rd or 4th batch!