Cook Fast, Live Young: What to Do with Your Pumpkin After Halloween 2011

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Waste not, want not! One of the best ways to save money is to make use of what you already have. It’s likely that every year you’ve simply tossed your pumpkin in the trash without giving it much thought, but it can have a second life if you make a little effort.
Make some fertilizer. Pumpkins have lots of nutrients, which make them great for your compost heap. Don’t have one? No problem. You can bury it in your garden where it will decay and enrich your soil.

Grow a pumpkin for next year. Wash, dry, and save the seeds. Then you can plant them when the weather’s right, and you won’t have to buy a pumpkin for next Halloween. In fact, you may even have a few to give away. Seeds should be planted when it’s consistently around 70 degrees out, and the spring rains have slowed. If you live in a cold climate, you can start them indoors and then transfer them outside when the weather gets warmer.

Eat the seeds. When you’re carving the pumpkin, remove the seeds and wipe them off with a paper towel to remove all that sticky pulp. Then spread them evenly on a paper bag and let them dry overnight. The next day, spread them on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast them at 160 to 170 °F for 15 to 20 minutes. You can learn more about roasting the seeds as well as many ideas for seasoning them in my past blog post, How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds.

Bake a pumpkin pie. This is NOT an option if you have carved your pumpkin, since it’s had plenty of time to rot and gather all sorts of nastiness inside. However, if you painted it using non-toxic paint or just used it as decoration while fully intact, now’s the time to make use of its innards. Here’s a great Pumpkin Pie recipe to get you started.

Whatever you do, don’t let your carved-up pumpkin sit around for too long. Over time, they rot, and it can be pretty nasty to clean up.

Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine PinkRaygun.com, a contributor to the career blog at Resumark.com, and owner of the food blog CookFastLiveYoung.blogspot.com. Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at WeissRoessler.com.

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  1. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    Tried baking a pumpkin pie out of the natural gut of a pumpkin. Didn’t work for me. I eat pumpkin seeds that are store bought, from time to time.

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  2. starlit

    3 years ago

    sugar pumpkins are the ones recommended to bake a pie with. the jack o’ lantern pumpkins aren’t the right consistency.

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