You’ve found your pumpkin, scooped it out, carved it up and put a light in it. You have a pile of what can best be described as “pumpkin guts” leftover. What to do? Seems like a shame to waste all of that pumpkin, right? This year’s goal? Use the whole pumpkin. The entire thing. No waste. But what to do?
Let’s pretend you’ve already carved your jack-o-lantern and start with the guts. Our favorite way to enjoy at least part of the guts? Roast the seeds! Here’s how: Separate all of the seeds from the slimy, stringy stuff. When you’ve got them all in their separate piles, you can rinse the seeds and get any excess pumpkin off of them or you can leave it there—your decision. Next step—get ready to roast! It used to be that people just took the seeds, spread them out in a single layer and let them dry for a day or so. These days, we don’t have to wait. So, take 2 cups of your pumpkin seeds and toss them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or olive oil (we recommend the olive oil—you’re eating seeds, so keep it healthy!), and a teaspoon of salt. Put them on a baking sheet, spread them out into a single layer and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until they are golden brown. Stir the seeds around every ten minutes so they roast evenly.
That’s our simplest recipe. Want to add a little spice? One way is to stick to the above recipe but also add ½ teaspoon of cumin and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper. How about a little spicy and sweet combo? Try this: Whisk together one egg white, ¼ cup natural can sugar, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and a ½ teaspoon of fine-grained sea salt, then add your pumpkin seeds and toss them around a bit. Put it all in a strainer and get rid of the excess egg white, then spread the seeds in a thin layer on your baking sheet and roast at 375 for about 12 minutes or until the seeds are golden. When you take them out of the oven, sprinkle with a little more sugar and cayenne, and season with more salt if you need to. For more recipes, try this link: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001524.html
Now that the seeds are taken care of, on to the rest of the guts! What you’ve got left after the seeds have been removed is basically strings and slime, as we mentioned before. Make sure that there’s no pumpkin rind mixed in with your goo. Take all of the sliminess and put it into a food processor and process until it looks and feels like baby food. It might be a little watery and yucky looking, but trust us—this is way better than canned. Your pumpkin pie never had it so good! At this point, it’s ready to use in breads, pies, etc. Two cups (or 16 oz) is equal to one can of pumpkin.
We promised Pumpkin Gut Soup Stock, didn’t we? If you want soup stock, don’t put your pumpkin guts in the food processor. Put all of your pumpkin goop (with or without seeds) in a stock pot full of water. Feel free to throw in any other veggie parts you may have around that you were going to toss out, like carrot and celery tops—they’ll add flavor. Boil this little witch’s brew for 30 minutes or so (or until it starts to change color), then strain all the veggie pieces out and—voila!—Pumpkin Gut Soup Stock! Use it in soups, casseroles or whatever. It freezes well, too!
Want a few more ways to get the most out of this year’s jack-o-lantern? Try these tips:
- Make a healthy facial mask. Take your pureed pumpkin (about 5 teaspoons) and add 3 teaspoons of brown sugar and a splash of milk. Mix it up, slather it on in a nice circular motion (exfoliation tip), and sit back for 20 minutes or so. Stay away from the eye area and beware: This concoction smells good, so be prepared for a slice of pumpkin pie after to satisfy your sure-fire craving.
- If pumpkin isn’t your thing, give it to someone who likes it—feed it to your backyard critters! Birds will love the seeds, and you can cut the pumpkin into fourths for the deer to munch.
- Make a pumpkin planter. After you’ve de-gutted your pumpkin, fill it with dirt, plant a flower of your choice, and let it decorate your front porch for a few days. When you’re finished, plant the entire pumpkin in the ground—the pumpkin will naturally decay and serve as fertilizer for the plant.
- Make pumpkin bowls for serving soup (remember that soup stock?).
- Compost! When your jack-o-lantern, pumpkin bowls, etc are kaput, throw that pumpkin in the compost bin or straight into the garden. It will naturally decay and you can till it into the soil in the spring. Happy summer veggies!
As if all of these things weren’t reason enough to use every part of your pumpkin this year, consider this: Pumpkin is really good for you. Pumpkin is a low calorie vegetable that packs an antioxidant punch! It has loads of vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes. Carve away, eat up, enrich the soil, help your skin! We don’t care just how you use all that your jack-o-lantern has to offer—just use it all!
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