How to Use ALL Parts of Your Pumpkin this Holiday Season!

Hello all! With Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to do a fun and festive post. And what is more fun and festive than pumpkins!?

When I was a kid, my family and I would carve pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds for Halloween. Pumpkin pie was my favorite (and still is) come Thanksgiving. However, we never seemed to use the whole pumpkin at one time. So, I am going to tell you how to use all parts of your pumpkin this holiday season. 

First off, all parts of the pumpkin- the flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, flesh, and skin- are edible! If you grow your own pumpkins, you can collect and eat the leaves and flowers.  The flowers can be eaten raw or you can use them in salads, pancake batter, or by frying them. The leaves should be cooked in the same way you would prepare spinach. If you buy your pumpkins at the market, don’t fret. There are still many things you can do with your pumpkin without access to pumpkin leaves or flowers. 

My favorite thing to do with pumpkins is roast the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are full of protein and other nutrients that are great for your health. First, you must slice open your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds, collecting the seeds in a bowl. You’ll likely have to seperate the pumpkin guts from the seeds by hand. Then, use your favorite recipe to roast them! Here is a link to the recipe my family uses: https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/roast-pumpkin-seeds/

You can also make a yummy pumpkin seed pesto to put on pasta or other dishes. Here is a that recipe: https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/pumpkin-seed-pesto

Now, what to do with all the pumpkin guts you have left over? Don’t throw them away! Though many people waste this part of the pumpkin, you can make delicious “Pumpkin Gut Bread”. Here is a great recipe for this bake: https://eatingrichly.com/how-to-cook-a-whole-pumpkin-and-recipe-for-pumpkin-gut-bread/

We are left with the pumpkin husk and stem. For the pumpkin flesh, you can carve or bake it. Both are equally tempting, but since this post focuses on cooking, I’ll give you some ways to cook pumpkin flesh. You can bake, roast, puree, and do so many other things to pumpkin flesh. Here are some great recipes that use pumpkin flesh:

Fresh Pumpkin Soup: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/fresh-pumpkin-soup/ (If you are a vegetarian like me, just replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.)

Pumpkin Puree: https://www.inspiredtaste.net/35527/easy-pumpkin-puree-recipe/ You can use pumpkin puree in many pumpkin based recipes. Pumpkin puree stays fresh for about a week in the refrigerator or months in the freezer. 

Pumpkin Pie: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23439/perfect-pumpkin-pie/ (No need to use canned pumpkin if you have a fresh one! Great way to use your pumpkin puree.)

Roasted Pumpkin: https://steamykitchen.com/23757-roasted-pumpkin-recipe.html

The last part of the pumpkin left is the stem. Compost it!  

Though this article is just a fun fall post, I hope it gets you thinking about how to be less wasteful in your cooking and in your life in general. We often just discard food products and resources we don’t use, but with a little research, you can find new and exciting ways to utilize what you might have just thrown away. And if worse comes to worst, compost it!

Graphics were made by Mac Davenport!

Sources:

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