Slowly step that pumpkin away from the garbage can. It has bigger and better plans than going to the dump.
It’s estimated that about 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins end up in a landfill each year, most of which happens right after Halloween. To lessen the environmental blow this holiday, I have created a handful of ideas on how to use your pumpkins.
So rather than throwing your kids’ pumpkins in the bin, here are a few ways to turn the pumpkins into food (good for our body and saving money) or other helpful things for the home.
Donate it to a zoo or local farm:
Many zoos have been known to take carved pumpkins to share with their animals- either to show them destroying them or eating them! You can also call a local farm to see if they have any interest in pumpkins for their animals or compost.
Make a bird feeder:
If you are into birds, cut the pumpkin in half, carve out any leftover strands and seeds, wrap some twine around it and fill it with birdseed. Hang it somewhere in your yard that you can see from your home and watch the pretty birds that use it.
Whether using your compost service or creating your own compost, throwing your carved (or uncarved) pumpkins in the compost helps create nutrient rich soil and keeps it out of the landfill.
EAT IT! Pumpkin has a nice, mild gourd flavor that is perfect for soups, stews, on salads, in pasta, and even in dessert dishes. Over the last decade pumpkin flavor has become all the rage, so instead of making your pumpkin muffins from canned pumpkin, use your actual pumpkin to make them! Here are a few things you can do to preserve your pumpkin so it’s ready to throw in a recipe when the time comes:
Make a pumpkin puree:
Purees are so good in soups and are used in a lot of baking recipes- hello pumpkin pies! The pumpkin puree is so easy to make, just follow these steps.
Note: Frozen puree will be a little bit more watery than the canned stuff, so adjust the amount of liquid in your recipe if need-be.
Chopped pumpkin can be used as a replacement in any recipe that has chopped butternut squash or sweet potatoes. It will be slightly more mild but still delicious and offer you lot’s of healthy nutrients, like vitamins A and C. It’s awesome in soups, chili’s like this Pumpkin Chili recipe, or roasted and thrown on salads, pasta, or as a side. It can even be added to smoothies!
Here’s how to do it:
Whether you are carving your pumpkin or not, making a snack out of the seeds is a necessity! They can be turned into such a yummy little treat and have so many health benefits, throwing them away would be a travesty.
Here are my two favorite ways to snack on pumpkin seeds:
First, collect all of the seeds in a bowl. Once you have them all, transfer them to a strainer or colander, pulling off any of the strands that the seeds are attached to. Rinse them in the strainer for a bit to get any leftover orange goop off. Lay them on a paper towel or dish towel for 15-30 minutes so they dry. Then choose which way you want to cook them!
Note: There are no servings sizes or ingredient measurements because the amount of seeds you get depends on the pumpkin size. Just guess, you really can’t go wrong.
If you do something with your pumpkins that I haven’t included here, please share below in the comments! I would love more fun and creating ideas!