If you carve pumpkins but have no idea what to do with the insides and the seeds, or just want to find a place to dispose of the carved pumpkins after Halloween then I have some ideas for you. I have even included a simple family edible pumpkin seed recipe. Let’s get started!
1. Fertilizer and Compost!
The extra pumpkin scraps you have from carving can be used as fertilizer for your garden in the spring. Put your pumpkin scraps in your garden where you plan to plant crops in the spring. Over the winter, it will slowly erode, and the nutrients will leak into the soil to act as a natural fertilizer.
I did this last year with my pumpkins and my pepper and tomato plants were very bountiful compared to previous years. You can also do this with decorative gourds but if the seeds are not removed, you may end up with a small gourd patch of your own so make sure you take the seeds out of the gourds.
2. Make a Garden!
As stated in the first idea, you can use the seeds from gourds and pumpkins to create a garden come next September! If you feel like you want a pumpkin patch in your own backyard, then place your gourds and pumpkins with seeds in an area that you want a patch next year. Just place them all around and let nature take care of it.
In the spring and summer there will be little action but do not be discouraged, the plants do not start to take root until the beginning of August. Once small plants are seen, start to water once a week for the first month (Usually in August).
Then let nature take care of them and they will produce pumpkins and gourds for the next year and you can save money going to the store! I do this every year with my small decorative gourds and every year I have a plant that produces 10-12 gourds in the year. I make edible pumpkin seeds so I never tried to plant my own pumpkins, but you can definitely try to plant your pumpkin seeds to have your very own pumpkin patch.
3. Bake Edible Pumpkin Seeds!
One of my family traditions every October is to bake fresh pumpkin seeds with my mother. I found that instead of using the seeds to plant, you can also have a nice snack as you carve pumpkins or decorate for Halloween. Below you will find a simple seed recipe that I use every year to make pumpkin seeds with my family:
Prep Time: 40-45 min
Pumpkin Seeds of any amount
½ stick butter (Melted)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Flavoring is also optional such as garlic salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or anything you desire!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit as you clean the seeds from the pumpkin. If you like to have a bit of pumpkin flavor, keep some of the strings of pumpkin on the seeds for added flavor. If not, then you can wash the seeds off with some water.
Step 2: Once clean, spread the seeds on a baking sheet with sides so the butter does not escape while cooking. Melt the butter and pour onto seeds. Put a pinch of salt on the seeds and add flavoring if desired.
Step 3: Put the seeds in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. You can take out the pan and flip the seeds around the 20 minute mark for even color, but I found no change in taste by doing this.
Step 4: After golden brown, pull them out and allow to cool. Once cool, you can enjoy your flavorful pumpkin seeds! It’s that easy!
4. Make Fall Desserts!
This is probably the most common of all that many people use their pumpkins for. Yes, you can use it to make a typical pumpkin pie, but you can make it with the inside guts of the pumpkin (without the seeds) as well as the sides (but not the outside covering).
My mom also makes pumpkin custard using these same parts and makes it like a creme brulee in a way using brown sugar as the sugary top. One of the most common uses of pumpkin is making
homemade pumpkin rolls with cream cheese icing. This can also be made from fresh pumpkin but may need to be blended for a smoother consistency.
5. Make Pumpkin Broth!
This is not a dessert, but I thought I should mention that it would be a good idea to make a nice broth for certain soups, stews or pot roasts. If you add these scraps to a big pot and mix in apples, and any other leftover fall fruits and vegetables in the fridge, you can create a nice broth that works with many different soups, stews or roasts.
When I make my broth, I strain out all of the bigger leftover parts from the pumpkin and other vegetables to just keep the flavorful broth. With these strained leftover parts, I let them cool and take them out to my garden and create fertilizer like discussed in my first idea above. I usually add 2 strips of London Broil with butter, potatoes, carrots and the pumpkin broth to create a nice fall dinner on a cold windy day.
I found that these ideas that I tried worked out very well and they have all become family traditions in a way. Hopefully, after reading these ideas, no pumpkin ever goes to waste. These ideas are both beneficial to the environment and beneficial to you to get the best usage out of the pumpkins you buy!