It's hard to buy too many pumpkins before Halloween. They're so affordable and bright. But come November they suddenly clutter up porches, hallways and kitchens. Don't just make these orange beauties yard waste. They hide a whole world of hidden benefits inside. Make full use of them instead of tossing them curbside for trash collection day.
Remember, if you choose to eat your Halloween pumpkin, give it a good wash before you start cooking.
1. Eat the seeds
Pumpkins store a salty, nutty treat in their depths. Roast the pumpkin seeds from your leftovers for a quick snack. Toss the rinsed seeds with a little olive oil, sprinkle some salt on top and roast for about 30 minutes in an oven at 300 degrees.
You could also use them as bird seed and put them inside your bird feeder!
2. Make pumpkin puree
Thanksgiving is just around the corner from Halloween and that means pumpkin pie. Instead of buying the canned stuff at the store, whip up some homemade puree.
Cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the guts and seeds.
Place the two halves of the pumpkin face side down on a sheet tray. Add a cup of water and to the tray and bake for 90 minutes.
Scoop out the inside of the cooked pumpkin and puree in a food processor. Voila!
3. Warm up with pumpkin soup
Turn that homemade puree into an inviting soup for the cold months. Combine four cups of your puree with six cups of chicken stock, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and cream and you have a bistro-worthy meal.
4. Make some all-purpose veggie stock
Don't throw away all those stringy guts when you clean out your pumpkin! Whether you are carving on Halloween or just want to use up extra pumpkins, those insides make tasty veggie stock.
Plop the guts into a stock recipe that includes carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic and fennel and you will get the most out of your pumpkin.
5. Decorate for Thanksgiving
The holidays generally mean hectic schedules and harried households. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen just repurpose your uncut pumpkins into Thanksgiving decorations.
Place them on an end table or at the center of your dining table. Surround them with dried corn, scented candles and Thanksgiving themed items for a quick transformation.
6. Create a pumpkin spa treatment
Remember that silky pumpkin puree you made? Turn it into a facial with a little honey, coconut oil or whole milk for a quick, rejuvenating break.
7. Make pumpkin skin chips
Peel off the pumpkin skin and crisp them up in a dehydrator with a sprinkling of paprika and sea salt. Pumpkin skin has tons of vitamins and nutrients and even a rich flavor.
8. Make a real pumpkin spice latte
Skip the fake, sugary syrup at your local coffeehouse. Whip up some pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, milk, a touch of sugar and espresso for a decadent pumpkin latte at home.
9. Bake up some bread
Pumpkin bread makes perfect presents for co-workers and family. It also makes anyone's house smell like a Thanksgiving dream. If you make it with your own pumpkin puree you can really said you made it from scratch.
10. Start composting pumpkins
If all else fails, a jack-o-lantern makes a wonderful compost pile. They break down within a couple of weeks and give your garden some much-needed nutrients. You just need a compost bin for your old pumpkins.