Are you ready for Halloween? Surely you’ve already procured your pumpkin. Have you carved a scary Jack-o-Lantern yet? I hate carving, so my husband is the one who does it. He’s extraordinarily artistic and always manages to etch out something incredible. We normally buy a few pumpkins for our front porch. Some we carve, others we let be. My personal favorite part of the pumpkin tradition is getting to eat them! But there are plenty of ways to prevent those round orange globes from going to waste.
Ideas for your pumpkins
Here are a few ideas for using your Halloween pumpkin:
- Roast those yummy seeds. Once I start eating pumpkin seeds, I can’t stop. They’re so delicious and easy to make. Just keep an eye on them while they’re baking to prevent burning.
- Use the flesh. Set aside pumpkin flesh when carving to use in cooking. Freeze or use it right away to add pumpkin-flavor to your dishes.
- Stick it in the compost. I’d suggest hacking it into bite-sized pieces so it can compost quicker.
- Save the seeds for next year.
A few recipe ideas
Pumpkin soup is one of my all-time favorite soups, and it’s a very easy recipe to make in the slow cooker. Make sure to pick a smaller pumpkin, since large varieties don’t have particularly tasty flesh.
Pumpkin pie is equally delicious, but I don’t usually get around to making it since Canadian Thanksgiving happens before Halloween.
Risotto is often labeled as a difficult dish to master, but I find it’s an easy weeknight dinner. Add pumpkin puree for a luxurious twist on your regular risotto.
Make pumpkin butter, another slow-cooker friendly option that’s simple to whip up and makes a great host or hostess gift.
Whatever you decide to do with your pumpkin decorations or Jack-o-lanterns, be sure to bring them in overnight to prevent squirrels from gnawing at them. The frugal gardener knows that using a pumpkin to the fullest is eco-friendly and budget-friendly. Remember, though, you can’t eat a pumpkin once it has been carved. So save the flesh while cutting and be sure to scoop out all the seeds before setting it outside on your spooky porch or front stoop.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.