It’s Pumpkin Time in Las Vegas

We may be waiting for that cool autumn weather to arrive here in Las Vegas, but despite the still toasty temperatures, people across the valley are getting into the fall spirit. Pumpkin patches have popped up all over, from Summerlin to Henderson, and they feature much more than just your next jack-o-lantern. From games and rides to contests and petting zoos, there’s fun to be had for the whole family. And with Halloween just 3 weeks away, there’s still plenty of time to check one out for yourself, or maybe a few!

 

halloweentown

Image from lvpumpkinpatch.com

Halloween Town

Locals have been enjoying the Halloween Town pumpkin patch for more than 20 years. With two locations serving the valley, (the original one at Boca Park, and the newest one at the Galleria Mall) you won’t have to travel far to join in on the fun. Each location features more than 30 rides (most are geared toward kids 2-11 years old) along with bounce houses, huge slides, fall food, and more. An all-day wristband costs $20 or you can buy tickets per ride.

You can visit Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and on the weekend from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Boca Park, 510 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89145

Galleria Mall, 1300 West Sunset Road, Henderson, NV 89014

 

stumiller

Image from seasonaladventures.com

Stu Miller’s Pumpkin Patch

Located throughout Southern California and the Las Vegas Valley, Stu Miller’s Pumpkin Patches pride themselves on great quality and family fun. Pumpkins are hand picked by a farm in Ventura County and shipped to each location. The lots also feature large inflatable slides, a bungee jump, mechanical rides and a petting zoo.

There are 5 lots located in Las Vegas and Henderson – all are open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

942 Kelso Dunes Road, Henderson, NV 89014

6555 S. Riley Street, Las Vegas, NV 89148

6400 SE Centennial Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89149

251 Coronado Center Drive, Henderson, NV 89052

9200 S. Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89139

 

Gilcrease Orchard

The Gilcrease Orchard holds a rich history in the Las Vegas Valley, serving the community for more than 90 years. It offers visitors a unique “you-pick” experience where you can actually go out into the fields and pick your own fruit and vegetables. Produce is priced by the pound and the fall selection includes apples, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, spaghetti/butternut squash, green beans, kale, and of course the main attraction: pumpkins. Special fall treats like apple cider and caramel apples are also available for purchase at the concession stand.

The orchard has extended its hours for the month of October since so many people come to pick their own pumpkins. They are open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Workers suggest coming early if you can, as there is usually a crowd by 9am.

7800 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, NV 89131

 

sugarpie

Sugar Pie Pumpkins (localfoods.about.com)

While most people select pumpkins at the patch for carving jack-o-lanterns, they’re also great for making some tasty treats! All pumpkins are edible, but the Sugar Pie variety is usually recommended for baking because of its sweet flavor.

The base of many pumpkin recipes (from breads to cakes and cookies) is pumpkin puree, so if you’re feeling adventurous and want to make your own this year (rather than buying a can at the store) you can follow these easy steps:

  • Cut off the stem and cut the pumpkin in half.
  • Scoop out of the stringy pulp and seeds. You can save the seeds for later to dry and roast, if you like.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place the pumpkin halves face down on a shallow baking dish and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 1.5 hours for a medium-sized sugar pie pumpkin or until its tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Wait for the pumpkin to cool, then scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.

Now that you know how to prepare your pumpkin, here are a couple recipes to try out:

 

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/3 cups flour                    ¼ tsp cloves

3 cups sugar                          1 tsp allspice

1 1/2 tsp salt                         4 eggs

1 tsp nutmeg                         1 2/3 cups pureed pumpkin (1 can if store bought)

1 tsp cinnamon                     2/3 cup water

1 tsp baking soda                  1 cup nuts or chopped dates (optional)

1 cup vegetable oil

Mix together all of the above ingredients and pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Check for doneness. Make sure not to overbake.

 

Baked Pumpkin Seeds (courtesy of Food Network)

Step 1) Clean the seeds: Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp, rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water, then shake dry. Don’t blot with paper towels; the seeds will stick.

Step 2) Dry them: Spread the seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet and roast them for 30 minutes to dry them out.

Step 3) Add spices: Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt, and your choice of spices (see below). Return to the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about 20 more minutes.

Sweet: Toss with cinnamon and sugar (do not use salt in the above step).

Indian: Toss with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.

Spanish: Toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.

Italian: Toss with grated parmesan and dried oregano.

Barbecue: Toss with brown sugar, chipotle chile powder and ground cumin.

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