Pumpkin recipes you can make using your jack-o’-lantern

In addition to serving as a treasured Halloween tradition, carving pumpkins can also be a great opportunity for cooking together as a family. Pumpkin pulp, seeds and flesh typically get tossed in the trash after the candles are lit, but this year, try some of these pumpkin recipes to put the waste to good use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/67189109@N00/1812220293/in/album-72157602822748569/Pumpkin seeds

This is one of the simpler recipes involving pumpkin, and younger children will enjoy gathering the seeds and putting them aside to be roasted. Simply wash off the excess pumpkin pulp, soak the seeds (or boil for ten minutes) in salted water, toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Then roast the seeds at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

You can experiment with different salt and spice combinations to discover what your family likes best. Eat them by the handful or toss them on your favorite salad for extra crunch and flavor.

Pumpkin puree: The sky’s the limit

Once you’ve carved your jack-o’-lantern, gather the sections that you removed from the walls of the pumpkin. Peel the orange outer skin and the inner orange pulp, and what you have left is called the flesh. Roasting these pieces in the oven will make the flesh soft and sweet. Puree this roasted flesh in a food processor or blender, and you have pumpkin essence, which serves as a base for dozens of amazing fall recipes.

The puree can be used to make pumpkin bread, muffins, pancakes and waffles. It can also feature in pumpkin soups, smoothies and even in a decadent pumpkin butter to spread on toast. Of course, you can also use it to make a delicious pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin french fries

Family members that enjoy sweet potato fries will likely be excited to try the pumpkin version. Simply trim your pumpkin flesh into french fry shapes of your desired thickness and toss in oil and flavorings of your choice. Bake the fries in an oven until they’re soft or crispy, according to your preference. Add salt and pepper for a savory dish, or cinnamon and sugar for a sweet twist. Use your imagination to find your family’s favorite!

There are plenty of great pumpkin recipes out there. Using the scraps left over from carving jack-o’-lanterns is a fun way to reduce food waste and increase your consumption of a healthy fall vegetable.

Image source: Flickr

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