Waste Not: How to use the entire pumpkin

Waste Not: PumpkinFall is the season we remember how much we love pumpkins. With the return of the pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup everywhere we turn there are pumpkins!  I notice the bright orange gourd sitting on decks and on tables as decoration. That is all I seem to see at the market, piles and piles of pumpkins in every variety you could imagine, all those pumpkins waiting to be turned into something foolish or festive.

Here lies the problem, I hate food waste. I strive to throw almost nothing away in my kitchen. I even turn my veggie scraps into a delicious broth. So when I see the abundance of pumpkins everywhere I worry about what is going to happen to them all. Are they all just going to end up in the landfill? I can’t stand the thought of that so I decided to do something about it. This year I learned how to cook an actual pumpkin instead of using the canned stuff. I discovered it is just as easy to cook up a pumpkin as my favorite winter squash. So here we go, whether you just want to do something with the seeds of your Jack O’ Lantern or have a pumpkin lying around as decoration, don’t let it go to waste.

This month in time for Halloween I bring you two recipes so you can use the entire pumpkin: Jack O’ Lantern Seeds and Pumpkin Soup.

Jack O’ Lantern Seeds

The great thing about this recipe is that even if you are carving a Jack O’ Lantern you can still use the seeds to make a tasty snack.

Ingredients

  • Freshly scooped out Pumpkin Seeds
  • Olive Oil, Coconut Oil or Butter
  • Salt

See below for other flavor suggestions

Directions

  1. Separate the seeds from the slimy guts of the pumpkin.
  2. Put the seeds into a bowl of warm salty water and soak for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Lay the seeds flat on a towel or paper bag to dry completely or overnight.
  4. Toss seeds in oil or butter just enough to coat them. The amount will vary based on the amount of seeds, lets say 1 Tbsp give or take.
  5. Sprinkle lightly with salt (or see below for other spice variations)
  6. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Keep a close eye because depending on the oven it can go fast. You don’t want them to burn.
  7. Enjoy!

Three Flavor Ideas

Curried Jack O’ Lantern Seeds
Coconut Oil, Red or traditional curry powder, salt, cumin powder

Cinnamon and Sugar Jack O’ Lantern Seeds
Butter, Cinnamon and Sugar

Spicy Jack O’ Lantern Seeds
Salt, Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

Pumpkin Soup

This simple soup is the perfect remedy for a chilly day. This is a great base soup recipe, but if you feel especially creative you can turn this into a curried soup or even add some sweet potatoes and brown sugar to make it more complex. I love to top mine with freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. Yummy!

Ingredients:

  • ~2 1/4 cups pumpkin (cut into small chunks)
  • ~1/4 cup shallots, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp oil (olive oil, coconut oil or butter)
  • ~2 cups vegetable broth (learn to make your own from kitchen scraps here)
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 tsp each: Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp Maple syrup or other sweetener

Directions

  1. Put shallots, garlic and oil a pot to sauté. Stir for several minutes while they become fragrant.
  2. Add the cubes of pumpkin, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon to the pot. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add Coconut milk, vegetable broth and the maple syrup (if you choose) to the pot.
  4. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat (do not let get to a raging boil) and then turn to low to simmer. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender enough to squish with a fork.
  5. Then, using an immersion blender or in batches, use your upright blender to puree the mixture.
  6. Add additional spices to taste.
  7. Serve and enjoy!