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The Fruit of Their Labor- Elementary School Students in Boulder Enjoy Pumpkin Muffins Made with Pumpkins from their Very Own Gar

Posted Dec 06 2010 7:33pm

By: Sunny Young, Blogger

“And guess what is SO special about the pumpkin we are using to make these muffins today…” said Michele Bailey, director and founder of the Garden Club at a local Boulder, Colorado Elementary school, “…These pumpkins came from our garden!”

This announcement was followed by the oohs and ahhs of 25 or so Elementary students in the Garden Club at Heatherwood Elementary School.  The week before, students were helping to harvest the pumpkins, and decorating funny faces on some of the smaller festive squash. Now they were baking muffins with their yield.

With the help of trained chef and district manager of the School Food Project in Boulder, Eric Ditzler, the ingredients were laid out on three tables, students were separated into groups, and about adults were split up to help each kid have a part in creating muffins from their garden pumpkins.  Miho Shida, mom to two students at Heatherwood and Garden Club coordinator, helped prepare by baking pumpkins into something usable for the muffins. Please see the recipe she adapted below to help the kids in your life make delicious pumpkin muffins!

It was apparent that this incredibly simple recipe was making quite the impact on the young students. In addition to using pumpkin which the students themselves had a part in growing, Garden Director, Michele, also brought in eggs from her very own chickens. Michele displayed to the students the variety of color, shape, and size you find in eggs from chickens from her backyard, and then brought out a carton of eggs from a local grocery store- which were white, perfectly round, and uniform in size. Each child’s eyes lit up as they held the eggs in their little hands, and everyone fought over who got to crack the egg into the muffin mixture.

When it was time for the muffins to go into the oven, the students were able to venture behind that sacred territory in their school’s very own cafeteria- the kitchen. A district manager from nutrition services in the school, Deb McCormick, gave a tour of the tiny old cooking space. The kids were very curious and surprisingly interested in the giant kitchen equipment such as the industrial-sized mixer, huge tilt skillet, and cave-like walk-in fridge.

The timer went off, and the muffins smelled delicious! Though they contained a relatively small amount of sugar and were made from otherwise organic and local ingredients- the children gobbled them up and then asked for more! The Garden Club moms and Nutrition Services staff took this opportunity to talk about healthy eating and explained a bit about the new meals at their school.

The kids were very receptive, and it was obvious this experience had an impact on the way they see food.

You can create the Heatherwood Garden Pumpkin Muffins in your school too! Just follow the recipe below.

Best of luck and remember to check back with and often for more exciting, kid-friendly recipes!

Heatherwood Garden Pumpkin Muffins

(Makes 24 muffins- adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Pumpkin Muffin Recipe)


4 cups of organic all purpose flour (we used half all purpose and half King Arthur white whole wheat flour)

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

2 cups canned or cooked and pureed pumpkin

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil and eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan with paper liners.

Bake regular muffins for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

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