Whether as a bonding moment for families, as a fun communal activity for roommates, or as a creative outlet for solo dwellers, pumpkin carving counts among the most widely-loved traditions of the Halloween season. But for eco-conscious pumpkin artisans, it can feel upsettingly wasteful to clean out pumpkins for carving and then throw the pumpkin "guts" and seeds into the trash can.
So what can we do to recycle all that pumpkin flesh? Are there any pumpkin hacks that use leftover fresh pumpkin and seeds? Luckily, the answer is a resounding "yes". Here, you'll find 11 tasty and very manageable ways to use your raw pumpkin guts.
1. Homemade Pumpkin Puree
There are a gajillion fall-themed recipes using pumpkin puree, so why not make your own? All you need to do is separate the seeds from the guts after removing them from the pumpkin with a carving tool and blend them in the food processor until they're smooth.
Use the blended pumpkin guts instead of purée in your favorite pumpkin recipes, like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin spice moonshine. You'll never use the canned stuff again.
2. Homemade Stock or Broth
For a rich and hearty vegetable broth ideal for soups, stews, and braises, feel free to get pumpkin guts involved in the broth-making process. "You simply have to boil all of the pumpkin leftovers with onion, leeks, and some herbs, then strain it to get a pulp-free liquid. I would recommend freezing it into small cubes using an ice cube tray; [that way,] it can be added to soups and stews throughout the year, giving you classic fall flavors regardless of the season," explains creative director and recipe developer Jenna Moran of Whimsy & Spice.
If veggie stock isn't your thing, frozen pumpkin works really well when infused into store-bought chicken broth. This is one of those great ideas you'll thank yourself for when you're out of stock and a recipe calls for it.
Get the recipe here.
3. Pumpkin Juice
Pumpkin juice isn't just a fictional Diagon Alley specialty from Harry Potter-it's also very possible to make it at home! Replicate this Hogwarts favorite with this recipe. Pumpkin juice can also be added to your favorite smoothies, sauces, or soups for an extra boost of pumpkin flavor.
To make pumpkin juice, pour boiling water over the stringy bits and seeds, let it soak for 30 minutes, then strain out the solid parts. If you want to sweeten it lightly, a sprinkling of brown sugar can be added along with the boiling water. Pair with apple juice or apple cider for a spiced, seasonal sip.
4. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a tried-and-true way to repurpose pumpkin guts, and their popularity comes from the fact that they're crunchy, flavorful, and incredibly easy to make.
"Collect the individual seeds, then wash them thoroughly. Add them to a bowl with some oil and your desired seasonings and toss. Once satisfied with your flavorings, transfer your seeds to a baking sheet, ensuring [that] they are well spread out. Gently roast for 12 minutes, tossing the seeds midway through," says recipe developer Aysegul Sanford of Foolproof Living. These are great for a homemade trail mix or even for snacking on while giving away treats to trick-or-treaters.
If you'd prefer a sweeter spin on toasted pumpkin seeds, try this Pumpkin Seed Brittle recipe from cookbook author and recipe developer Anna Vocino.
Get the recipe here.
5. Pumpkin Risotto
Serious squash enthusiasts know that adding these vegetables to risotto results in the creamiest version that you can imagine. Summer squash and winter squash both work well in risotto, but pumpkin (which is also a squash!) gives risotto an autumnal richness that's pure magic.
This recipe uses 1 cup of the pumpkin guts to transform what was once waste into magnificence.
6. Pumpkin Butter
Turning pumpkin guts into an unforgettable toast topping is as easy as dropping the guts into a slow-cooker. This recipe is about as user-friendly as it gets, and it results in a smooth, tasty, highly-spreadable condiment. Pumpkin butter also makes an excellent gift for housewarmings and party favors.
7. Hard Squash Hummus
While traditional hummus uses chickpeas as its primary ingredient, this widely-beloved Mediterranean dip can be made with any number of vegetables, including squash. Recycle your pumpkin guts by combining them with a hard winter squash (like butternut or delicata), and you'll have a hummus base ripe for seasoning with garlic, tahini, olive oil, and plenty of fresh herbs.
8. Pumpkin Float
Ice cream may get a lot of glory during the summer months, but it's still completely acceptable (and, in fact, recommended!) to enjoy this frozen dessert during the chillier fall and winter months. This is especially true when you blend your ice cream with pumpkin guts and top it off with cream soda.
This pumpkin float recipe will convince you that ice cream is a true all-season treat!
9. Pumpkin Sherbet
What's the difference between sherbet and ice cream? Essentially, sherbet is made with fruit and contains less dairy than ice cream. It can be made with citrus, berries, peaches, pears-and yes, even with pumpkin.
This pumpkin sherbet recipe features pumpkin puree, but if you have a fresh supply of pumpkin guts on-hand, go ahead and make your own puree, which will then transform into silky, refreshing pumpkin sherbet.
10. Pumpkin Donuts
Pumpkin donuts turn any breakfast or brunch into a delicious celebration of fall flavors. These baked treats are both adorable and filled with pumpkin spice. They utilize pumpkin puree as their main agent of pumpkin flavor, and you can repurpose pumpkin guts by turning them into pumpkin puree.u8y6
11. Pumpkin Spice Latte
Save yourself a trip to Starbucks by making the PSL at home! This recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, which can be easily made by running pumpkin guts through the food processor. Pureed pumpkin puree keeps well in the freezer, so you can ensure that you have it on-hand anytime you're craving some pumpkiny essence in your espresso drink.
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