Pumpkins galore

When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind?  Witches?  Ghosts?  Candy?  Pumpkins?

Pumpkins are one of Recycla’s favorite parts about Halloween and fall in general.  She loves their cheerful orange color and the way her front porch looks with pumpkins marching up the stairs. She also enjoys seeing how creative other people get when carving their pumpkins.  This is a skill that Recycla does not possess  — when she carves a pumpkin, it looks like the victim of a tragic knife accident, so she is in awe of other people’s carving prowess.

For those of you who like to carve pumpkins and then light them on Halloween, Recycla encourages you to exchange those candles for white Christmas lights.  The pumpkins will look terrific, but without the risk of a small child getting burned by the flame.

Instead of carving your pumpkins, you might also consider cooking them. Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients and a great food to have in your regular diet. Recycla loves how much better fresh pumpkin tastes than canned. Several years ago, she decided to try making her own pumpkin puree instead of buying it in a can.  She was astounded by the difference in color and flavor!

Cooking pumpkins is incredibly easy — here’s how:

  • Get your pumpkins.  The small pie pumpkins have the best flavor, but you can use just about any pumpkins, even the big ones.
  • Chop the pumpkins into smaller pieces and place rind-side-up on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake until the pumpkins are thoroughly cooked.
  • After the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the pulp and put it in your food processor.
  • Process until smooth.
  • The pumpkin puree needs to be drained, so line a colander with a cheesecloth and place in a large bowl.  If you don’t have cheesecloth, use a small-mesh sieve.
  • Put the puree into the lined colander and let sit for an hour.  During that hour, you will need to pour off the liquid that accumulates in the bowl so that it doesn’t overflow.  (Use the nutrient-rich liquid to water your plants.)
  • Scoop the puree in one- or two-cup increments into freezer safe containers or bags.
  • Freeze until needed.

As for your pumpkin rinds and seeds, don’t throw them in the trash!  Chop up the rinds and toss them in your compost bin.  If you want to grow pumpkins next year, toss the seeds in your garden now and cover them with a little dirt.  Many of them will germinate next summer.  If you don’t want to grow pumpkins, how about putting the seeds outside for your neighborhood birds?

Tell the Eco Women:  What do you do with your pumpkins?  Is there a recipe you particularly like?

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3 thoughts on “Pumpkins galore

  1. Canned ‘pumpkin’ is actually squash – hubbard, dickinson, butternut squash and more, which accounts for the difference.
    I buy several smaller pumpkins, as they have more flesh and more flavor than the larger ones, for cooking. The large ones we carve will get tossed to the chickens this year. And we always, always roast the seeds with a bit of oil, butter and salt. I really love Old Bay on them.

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