Every year around the second week of November, you pick up that Halloween pumpkin from the porch and the bottom falls out - but not this year! This year you’re planning ahead to recycle that pumpkin before it gets squishy.
Here are five creative ways to use those pumpkins before they go to mush:
1) Roast Some Pumpkin Seeds!
The basic recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds only calls for olive oil, raw whole pumpkin seeds, and salt - but garlic salt, chili powder, or Old Bay seasoning can be added as well. You can also sub out olive oil for butter or other oils.
Simply scoop and rinse clean your pumpkin seeds and let them dry on a paper towel. Then toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Roast in the oven at 275 for one hour, stirring occasionally. Perfect pumpkin seeds should be crisp but not browned.
Fertilize Your Soil!
Pumpkins make great soil fertilizer. If you turned your pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern, you can easily pull apart and mix into the soil, including potted plants. If you choose to bury the pumpkin in your garden and it has any remaining seeds, there’s a great chance that you will end up with a baby pumpkin plant toward the end of next Summer. Placing the pumpkin directly into your composter is also a great option for nutrient-dense soil!
Make Pumpkin Puree!
If you haven’t carved your pumpkin, this is a great opportunity to make a pumpkin puree! Homemade pumpkin puree tastes astronomically better than canned and you can make a variety of recipes including squash soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lasagna, or use it as a delicious vitamin A rich addition to your mac and cheese or chili. Dogs are also fond of pumpkin and typically enjoy a scoop of pumpkin puree mixed into their food - be sure to give to your pup without any added salt, sugar, or dairy.
Pickle Your Pumpkins!
Here’s a great recipe from Serious Eats that only calls for pumpkin, sugar, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and pickling spices! You will also need some mason jars and lids ( that need to be pre-boiled) and it’s recommended to let the pumpkin pickle for at least two weeks!
Donate to Elephants!
This is obviously the cutest idea on the list. If you live near a zoo, donate your leftover pumpkins to the elephants - they love them! Elephants like pumpkins so much that a zoo in Portland, Oregon has an annual event called the “ Squishing of the Squash.”