|[Image: pumpkin carving]|
|[Image: pumpkin exploders]|
News Release Distributed 10/31/11
ABBEVILLE, La. – Jayla Campbell, an eighth-grader from North Vermilion Catholic School, had never carved a pumpkin before the 4-H workshop held Monday (Oct. 31) at the Vermilion Parish Extension Office.
Her rendering of a ghost didn’t come out as well as she hoped.
“I kinda cut the arm off,” Campbell said.
She and 210 other 4-H Club members from around the parish got together in the Cecil B. McCrory building to learn about the food and nutritional value of pumpkins. For example, pumpkins are high in vitamins A, C and E.
Students got the chance to try some tasty pumpkin cookies. And for dramatic effect, 4-H Junior Leaders Michella Herpin and Austin Gaspard set off an exploding pumpkin.
Actually, the pumpkin didn’t explode, but it was still a don’t-try-this-at-home demonstration. A mixture of calcium carbide and water combined for a chemical reaction that looked like an explosion in a pumpkin.
Clay Zaunbrecher, a home-schooled sixth-grader from Gueydan, worked like a surgeon to make intricate cuts, using a small saw-like instrument. He was making a silhouette based on the “Angry Bird” computer game.
Zaunbrecher says he is a veteran carver. “This is my second year,” he said. “Last year, I carved a wolf.”
His mother, Madlyn Zaunbrecher, said he carved a pumpkin at home. “He did a ballerina for my 4-year-old, and it was so cute.”
The event’s attendance exceeded expectations, said LSU AgCenter 4-H agent Shannan Waits. For the first few years of the event, the pumpkins were supplied, she said, but keeping up with increasing attendance required students to bring their own pumpkins.
“We thought that would hamper participation, but it didn’t. It’s just continued to grow every year,” Waits said.
Students also had the chance to paint their pumpkins instead of carving. That’s what Katelyn Breaux did.
“I didn’t think I could carve,” explained the sixth-grader from Cecil Picard Elementary School.
Students had Monday off this year because Vermilion Parish teachers were attending a conference.
Before they left, the 4-H’ers were given a recipe for pumpkin cookies they could make from their pumpkins.
Pumpkin cookies recipe
2.5 tablespoons margarine
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg or 2 egg whites
¾ cup cooked mashed pumpkins or 5 oz. canned pumpkin
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
½ cup raisins
In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine with sugar. Beat in eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix flour, baking soda and spices in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin batter and stir in raisins. Drop by teaspoonsful onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake in a 375-degree oven 12-15 minutes. Cool and serve.
Makes about 36 cookies.Bruce Schultz