With Halloween around the corner, many farms and local grocers are offering a festive squash, the pumpkin. After pumpkin carving on Halloween, many jack-o-lanterns sit on front porches, saggy and abandoned. Instead of limiting your pumpkin fun to carving, experiment with these non waste methods.
Roast the Seeds
Did you know that you can eat the seeds of your jack-o-lantern?
Clean your seeds by boiling them in water for about five minutes. After five minutes, drain your water and separate the guts from the seeds. Dry the seeds to the best of your abilities. The less moisture they have, the better they will roast.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place your seeds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You can simply use two tablespoons of your choice of oil and a sprinkle of salt or add more spices, such as garlic powder and black pepper.
You can mix up your recipe with flavors such as sriracha, sesame seeds and soy sauce, curry, spicy mustard or cinnamon and brown sugar, whatever you think is gourd.
Make sure to stir the seeds at least once while they are baking. Bake until the edges of the seed are golden and aromatic, about 10 to 25 minutes. Some recipes suggest you bake for about an hour. I would suggest periodically checking your seeds until they reach your desired cook level.
Use it to compost
After Halloween, your pumpkin is looking a little deflated, but it can still provide your plants nutrients.
Cut up your pumpkin into small pieces and sprinkle it in your garden or compost bin to help break down other green waste.
Utilize the insides for human and canine dishes
If you have a pumpkin serving as an indoor decoration, you can use the innards to make pumpkin puree! It is recommended you use indoor pumpkins because animals and mold can ruin your jack-o-lantern quickly.
Blend up the insides for your pumpkin puree. You can use it in pie, soup, chili, oatmeal, pasta sauce, mac and cheese, smoothies, pancakes or waffles. It can complement any meal you want to add a little seasonal flavor to.
Not only does pumpkin puree provide many vitamins and fiber to a human, but it also provides many to your canine companion. You can use pumpkin puree in dog treats. Canned pumpkin puree provides more levels of nutrients, but a pumpkin you bought from the store still offers great levels. Remember, don’t use a jack-o-lantern from outside or one that has been sitting out for a while. Use the flesh almost immediately after you carve it for your canine companion’s treat.
Use it to feed wildlife
Don’t throw the whole gourd out in the trash! Instead, put the pumpkin outside for critters. If you want to do a fun craft, you can recycle your jack-o-lantern into a bird feeder. Birds and squirrels can eat the pumpkin meat and seeds. Deer can also eat pumpkins. If you have a herd of deer in your backyard, you can cut up your pumpkin and scatter the pieces outside.
Plant you own pumpkin patch
If you want to take pride in some homegrown pumpkins, start your own garden. You can use Tip #2 to add nutrients to the soil. Pumpkin flowers are also great pollinators, so it would help out your neighborhood bees.
Save the seeds from your jack-o-lanterns for next year. Pumpkins require a sunny spot and it is recommended you start your pumpkin patch in May in order for them to be ready by Halloween. Pumpkins require one inch of water per week. Water deeply but do not soak the ground. This is a great activity for one person to test their gardening abilities or fun for the whole family.