We spent the energy carting our little ones to the pumpkin patch (no matter how far), picking the perfect pumpkin, carving it and then displaying it. But then what? Seems like such a waste to discard it after all that effort.
As you know from my previous post, I’m a big fan of pumpkin recipes, so I say use up that pumpkin. There are so many nutritious and delicious recipes that can be made with leftover pumpkins.
The most obvious use of your pumpkin is roasting the seeds. Its so simple and highly nutritious.
Once you have opened the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and rinse under cold water (removing all pumpkin strings). Then place in a large pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approx 10 minutes.
Next take your drained pumpkin seeds and toss in a bowl with seasoning of choice. I prefer mine spicy so I coat with olive oil and add cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Place seeds on a greased baking dish and place in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Bake for approx 10 minutes, or until puffed.
Another great idea for using your pumpkins is making your own pumpkin puree. Now I don’t suggest doing so on pumpkins you carved or large Jack O’ Lanterns, but small sugar pie pumpkins are perfect for making puree.
The quickest way to make puree is by cutting open the pumpkin, cutting into chunks (discarding the stringy pieces), peeling and placing in a large pot with enough water to cover. You then bring to a boil and cook until pumpkin is tender.
Once the pumpkin has cooled, blend or mash until smooth. You can then use for any recipe calling for pumpkin puree. The puree can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months (but I’m sure you’ll find a use for it before then, think Thanksgiving…).
Lastly, you can make pumpkin flour (once again I advise using the smaller sugar pie pumpkins). Just remove the seeds and strings again, slice the pumpkin into chunks and peel. Then set out to dry. Once fully dried (may take more than 24 hours), process the slices in a food processor until you have a flour-like texture. Store in an air-tight jar and use for any recipe that calls for flour (muffins, homemade pancakes and breads are all great with pumpkin flour).
If this all seems like to much hassle, then simply bury it in your garden. Pumpkins make great fertilizer. Happy Pumpkin Making!