Pumpkin carving is one of the best parts of the Halloween season. But what to do with all of the leftover guts and seeds post-carving session? We’ve got you covered with ideas for what to do with every part of your spooky gourd and every single one is a treat, not a trick!
You may be wondering if it’s okay to eat the pumpkins you buy at a patch, roadside stand or grocery store. The answer is YES! All parts of these pumpkins are edible, unless they have been carved and sitting out for a bit, which can lead to unhealthy bacteria growth. It is true that carving pumpkins are a different variety than the ones grown strictly for food purposes. Halloween pumpkins have thinner skins (making them easier to carve), more seeds (better for the toasting) and a milder flavor. The good news is that they are still edible and can be turned into all kinds of delicious creations.
Sweet or Savory Toasted Seeds
Toasting pumpkin seeds is a fun tradition that can provide you with tasty, healthy snacks for days to come. To get started, put the seeds in a colander and rinse thoroughly. For crunchy, evenly cooked seeds, boil them in water for about 12 minutes and let them dry on a paper towel lined baking sheet overnight. This ensures that the insides get thoroughly cooked. Then drizzle your seeds with olive oil and sea salt and bake them at 375° for 20 – 30 minutes until golden brown, tossing occasionally. Lastly add the seasoning. Some savory options include paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, or a cajun or taco spice blend. If you want a sweeter treat you can’t go wrong with good, old fashioned, cinnamon and sugar.
Save the seeds for planting
With a little planning you could be hosting a pumpkin patch party next year, instead of visiting one to buy your pumpkin. To save your seeds, clean and dry them just like you would for roasting, but don’t cook them. Choose a nice selection of the largest, blemish-free seeds and store them in a brown paper bag. Label the bag and store in a cool dark place. Check your seeds in a month and toss out any that show signs of mold or rot. After that it’s time to wait for spring planting when your little seeds will begin their journey to fully grown pumpkin-hood.
Pumpkin seeds aren’t exclusively for humans; they are very healthy for your furry and feathered friends as well! You can place the cleaned, raw seeds in an existing feeder or make a feeder from the bottom half of your reasonably well preserved jack-o-lantern. Fill up your feeder and wait for the hungry birds and squirrels to join you for lunch! If your jack-o-lanterns are still in pretty good shape—no visible mold or blackening—you can chop them up and leave them out for wildlife to enjoy as a midnight snack.
Enjoy a pumpkin facial
Did you know the goopy guts inside your pumpkin can make a soothing, healing face mask? It’s actually chock full of micronutrients that are beneficial for the human body’s largest organ – our skin! Simply separate the seeds from the pumpkin mash and mix it with honey until you get the consistency you want. Your skin will gobble up the pumpkins enzymes and Vitamin A, and the honey helps to absorb all the goodness. You can use plain greek yogurt—instead of honey—for a less sticky mixture.
Get your pickle on!
You can pickle the rinds of a fresh or recently carved jack-o-lantern to give them a tangy kick and make them last longer. Peel the skin off the rind using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the remaining rind into 2 inch squares and place in a large pot. Boil each pound of pumpkin with 2 ½ cups of sugar, 2 cups white vinegar and a small piece of fresh ginger until tender. Seal in mason jars and chill overnight before serving.
Make pumpkin seed art
If eating pumpkin seeds isn’t your thing, you can use the seeds in your arts and craft projects. Dye or paint the seeds and then get ready for mosaic madness. You can make trees with rainbow covered pumpkin seed leaves, a jack-o-lantern with orange, green and black seeds, a ghost with white and black seeds or any other design that inspires you. You can even place the seeds in modeling clay to create DIY coasters. Get creative!
Incorporating pumpkin into your regular diet is a great idea, as all parts of this orange gourd are extremely nutritious. Pumpkin seeds have more protein than most other nuts and seeds and are an excellent source of heart healthy omega 3’s. Pumpkin flesh is chock full of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, which is important for eye and skin health. Both seeds and flesh are rich in fiber and low in calories making them a wholesome, nutritious autumn treat. How will you get creative with your Halloween pumpkins this year?