By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern
When my brothers and I were younger, one of our favorite things to do every Halloween was to carve pumpkins. Mom would take us to the store, we’d all dig through the bin to find the biggest ones, and then we would take them home and carve the craziest faces into them.
We would then proudly display them until they began to grow moldy beards. While carving pumpkins is a super fun traditional Halloween activity, it is slightly wasteful. But good news! It doesn’t have to be, as there are so many ways to use the pumpkins before they go bad!
The first way that you can use your Halloween pumpkins is by eating them! Pumpkins can be cooked down till they are soft and then be made into pumpkin puree that you can use in place of canned pumpkin. Better Homes and Gardens notes that a carving pumpkin weighing about 6 pounds will provide you with approximately 2 ¾ cups of pumpkin puree, which is slightly more than the standard 15 ounce can of pumpkin you can buy at the store. Your homemade puree can be use in pies and other desserts, or even in savory pumpkin recipes.
The flesh of the pumpkin isn’t the only part you can use. The seeds can also be roasted and salted for a crunchy snack. This is as simple as washing the pulp off of the seeds, patting them dry, and tossing them with oil and salt and then roasting them in the oven. Taste of Home recommends baking them at 250 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Or, if your pumpkin was displayed a little too long and is past its prime to be eaten, you can always compost it or fill it with birdseed and use it as a bird feeder!
There is no need to feel wasteful when you and your family carve your pumpkins this Halloween, as there are plenty of ways to reuse them (as long as they don’t grow beards!).
For more recipes that use pumpkin, check out these pumpkin recipes from the Fill Your Plate recipe database!