It’s October, which means pumpkin season is here. From pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin pies, soups, and roasted seeds, now’s the time to make the most of America’s favorite gourd. So grab your blanket and make like Linus and head to the patch to see the Great Pumpkin rise, again. Then, make the most of the delicious results.
While many will become jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins also make for delicious treats. Either way, letting nothing go to waste is an excellent philosophy during the fall, or all year round. Here are some ways to use every bit of these seasonal staples.
We’ll start with the first thing that probably comes to most people’s minds in October: Halloween. Pumpkins became inexorably linked to this holiday, as a way to ward off evil spirits away in the past, while today’s culture treats them as cheerful,, spooky decorations.
When carving a pumpkin, don’t throw the seeds and bits away; if you don’t already, save them and use them. You could also save some seeds to plant for next year.
The bits of the fruit left after carving you usually dispose of can help local wildlife — put them out as a Halloween treat for critters and birds. It is the time of year when animals are getting ready for winter, so leaving food out for them can feed your local ecosystem. Any extra pumpkin seeds will be appreciated by squirrels and chipmunks.
The compost bin or curbside organic collection are healthy destinations for pumpkin scraps as long as you have not used any synthetic inks or paint as decoration. You may be able to wash the ink or paint away to make them compost safe. Cutting the pumpkin into small pieces will speed the compost process.
A pumpkin is full of potential culinary treats. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein. One cup of seeds provides about 13.7 grams of snackable goodness. Instead of throwing them away, you might try out one of AllRecipes’ pumpkin seed ideas for a tasty snack. We particularly like the cinnamon toast pumpkin seed recipe.
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soups, pumpkin puree… A long list of foods derived from this iconic fruit, even some cocktails. We recommend you check out the many recipes available at foodnetwork.com, Delish.com, and countryliving.com. Want to watch your way to cooking success? Food Network is packed with pumpkin episodes. With so many ideas, you can find uses for every part of your pumpkin. There’s no need to let the smallest bits go to waste.
Or course, making the most of any food doesn’t have to wait for a holiday or special occasion. Cooking with seasonal ingredients that are local to you reduces your impact on the environment, and can help you explore new flavors. Reduce food waste year-round by finding uses for every thing you buy, from the pumpkin to its stem or the carrot to its crown, by cooking and composting reduces the CO2 emissions created by rotting food.
Make the most of your great pumpkins, and have fun this Halloween.