WHAT TO DO WITH A PUMPKIN AFTER HALLOWEEN (THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE PUMPKIN PIE)
For the month of October, pumpkins are all the rage with pumpkin pie for thanksgiving and jack-o-lantern Halloween decor. As soon as November 1st hits, pumpkins get kicked to the curb and go to the sale cart in stores. One of the major issues with these seasonal fruits is what happens to them after the fall season ends. When organic matter ends up in a landfill where there is no available flow of oxygen, it slowly decomposes over many many years and the organic matter produces methane gas. Methane is a significant greenhouse gas, being much more potent than CO2 for the environment.
Pumpkin pie is great and all, but there are many other ways to use pumpkins that aren’t pie and roasted seeds. Here are some more creative ways to use pumpkins, especially after Halloween.
Preparing the Pumpkin
The first step to being able to use pumpkin is turning it into either puree or cubed pumpkin. This can be done in a couple different ways.
- Roasting in the oven – cut the pumpkin in half, or in slices with the skin on and place it on a tray in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
- Boil – cut the pumpkin into small slices or cubes and just barely cover with water in a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Alternatively, cut the skin off before boiling.
To puree pumpkin, place the cooked pumpkin in a blender with a bit of water and blend until it is smooth. To keep cubes and freeze the pumpkin for later, boil peeled cubes for a few minutes only.
5 Creative Ways to Use Pumpkin
Pumpkin Spiced Potpourri
A lovely scented mix made of just a few ingredients including real sliced pumpkin. This is the perfect way to reuse a carved pumpkin that may not be perfect for eating. As an alternative, this is also a great way to boil pumpkin for any of the other below recipes.
4-5 Cinnamon stick pieces
1-2 tbsp Star anise or whole cloves
A few apple slices or an apple core
Water to cover
Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat on med-low on the stove top. Turn the temperature down to minimum and keep warm for as long as you’d like.
Pumpkin Apple Cider
Made in the crock pot, this cider is festive, spike-able, and full of coziness. This recipe comes from The Crumby Kitchen and gives regular apple cider a fun edge. I love crock pot recipes because they are easy to leave while you go and do other things and make the house smell lovely in the process. This is a recipe I use during the holidays, with the frozen pumpkin puree made during October and November.
You can find this Pumpkin Apple Cider recipe here.
Pumpkin Pie Jam
Upon trying to find a pumpkin recipe that could be canned, as pumpkin puree and cubed pumpkin is too dense to can without a pressure canner, I came across this marvellous recipe! This recipe starts with spiced pumpkin puree and has equal parts sugar to pumpkin. It comes together quickly and would go quite nicely on scones or toast. I also cut this recipe in half, to make 2 regular and 2 small sized jars.
Find this Pumpkin Pie Jam recipe here!
Chickpea Pumpkin Curry
This is a great weeknight meal prepared via crock pot or stove top. It is also vegan and has gluten free options. Made with ingredients including pumpkin, sweet potato, chickpeas, coconut milk, spinach, and other delicious whole foods! If you like pumpkin and curry, this combination is a must try.
Find the recipe from Choosing Chia here.
Pumpkin Dog Treats
Do you have a furry little friend at home who loves dog treats? This treat is made of just three things, pumpkin, peanut butter, and oat flour (and a little cinnamon if you would like). If you do not have oat flour, it can be easily made by pulsing oats in a blender or food processor. For 1 ¾ cups oat flour, pulse 2 cups of oats.
Find this one at Desserts with Benefits here!