multitasking pumpkins

Pumpkins are one of my favorite fall items – from their color to their shape to simply them being the icon for my favorite season. Each year I pick up a few small pumpkins and pie pumpkins to use as decoration at my desk and my home.

And chances are, you also get a pumpkin or two each year. They're wonderful natural decorations that can serve many purposes – and be waste-free!

If you've got a pumpkin you're leaving whole as a decoration, or carving as a jack-o-lantern...don't just get throw it out after Halloween! These are some great ways to use all of that pumpkin.

One of the most popular uses is roasting the seeds. They make a delicious snack or salad or soup topping. AllRecipes has a great basic roasted pumpkin seed recipe, and Serious Eats has a great spicy roasted pumpkin seed recipe. However, you can season them with just about anything and they'll taste good. I have used crushed red pepper and Greek seasoning before, and it was heavenly. The pie pumpkins (like the one pictured above left) can produce a good amount of seeds for roasting. After roasting, I recommend storing them in a vacuum-seal glass container for longer shelf life.


So, what about the rest of the pumpkin? Try making your own pumpkin puree! It's cheaper and healthier than buying the canned version. The Daily Green has a simple recipe on how to make your own puree. You know what else, besides cooking or baking, you could use that puree for? Pumpkin cocktails. I'll stop for a moment and let that sink in.

Or, you could use the hollowed-out pumpkin as a bowl for your pumpkin soup, or as a cute serving dish if you'd like to serve roasted seeds at a gathering. It's like a bread bowl, but more seasonal.

And what if you're one of those (strange) people who doesn't like pumpkin? Have no fear! might, because your option would be to compost your pumpkin. I'll tell a quick, fun story about composted pumpkins. First of all, I don't compost because I live in an apartment and I've yet to figure out what I would DO with compost. But anyway, a few Halloweens ago, I bought a pumpkin for my patio. Halloween came and went, Thanksgiving came and went, CHRISTMAS came and went. I'm sorry, sometimes I'm lazy. And I didn't know what to do with the pumpkin because I didn't want to throw it away. Well, early January, I finally moved the pumpkin because I needed somewhere to put my Christmas tree. And that pumpkin...had practically composted itself. It was disgusting I managed to throw it in a trashbag and in the dumpster and let's never speak of this again, okay?

Now you really have no excuse to throw that pumpkin out and make Charlie Brown mad.

And I have a great excuse to have an overwhelmingly orange post. Happy October and Autumn everyone!

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