How To Use Your Entire Holiday Pumpkin

The fall holiday season may be over, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw out all your pumpkins. If you have any of those small decorative pumpkins, often known as sugar pumpkins, you can easily turn them into a plethora of tasty treats. Not only are you helping reduce food waste, but these fun recipes are great activities to do with children as well.

The Flesh

The most commonly used part of the pumpkin is the flesh, or the inner piece directly beneath the skin. This is the part that is used in canned pumpkin puree, which you can easily whip up for yourself. Cut your pumpkin in half, and then scoop out the stringy, slimy guts and seeds. This is where kids come in handy – they love tearing at the inside of a pumpkin!

After it’s been cleared out, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the pumpkin hollow side down on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for about thirty minutes. This can vary depending on your oven, so make sure to check on it. You’ll know when it’s done when the skin is dark and you can easily stick a fork through it.

Remove it from the oven and let it cool.

Peel off the skin and set it aside, because you’ll need that later. The great thing about this method is the skin really does just peel right off, which makes its removal a lot faster and a lot cleaner than trying to peel it before roasting.

The flesh should have the consistency now of the inside of a baked potato, so all you need to do is pop it into a blender or food processor and you’re done! You can use this to make anything from pumpkin butter to your very own from-scratch pumpkin pie.

The Seeds

There are a million things you can do with pumpkin seeds, but the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you’ve given them a good scrub and laid them out to dry in an even layer. If you let them dry stacked on top of each other you run the risk of them sprouting in the dampness.

The simplest way to prepare them is to roast them. After the seeds have dried season them however you like – a popular simple starter involves tossing them in a bowl filled with melted butter and salt – and put them in an oven that’s been preheated to 300 degrees. They should take around forty five minutes to cook, then all you have to do is let them cool off before you’re enjoying your home made snack.

The Skin

This is my favorite and most underused part of the pumpkin. Did you know that you don’t have to own a dehydrator to make crispy, dehydrated veggies? All you need is an oven.

I like to take the pumpkin skins discarded from making puree and coat them in olive oil. I sprinkle them with coarse salt and stick them in the oven for some dehydrating action. All you need to do is set your oven to the lowest possible setting and walk away. This can take a while; I like to leave mine overnight.

Once they’re done they’re brittle and crispy and delicious. They’re thicker than your standard potato chip, and I often use them in place of pita chips. 100% grain and gluten free, they’re fantastic for dips and hummus at parties.