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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Forget about pumpkin chucking

A Green Halloween Starts with a Green Pumpkin
From: Robin Blackstone, ENN 

Pumpkins are a huge part of the Halloween experience. We exhume the contents of our pumpkins and carve spirited faces into their walls for delightfully festive jack-o-lanterns. 

But what we do with the insides and the actual jack-o-lantern at the end of the season is often tragically wasteful. More often than not we toss our pumpkin guts, seeds and later on the actual jack-o-lantern into our household trash causing a huge volume increase in our household waste. 

With a little forethought though, a pumpkin can be much more beneficial to our environment and our tummies. Below are some suggestions for what to do with your pumpkin—all of it—both before and after Halloween.

Use the pumpkin gooiest parts in your kitchen right away. Start by separating out the seeds. Roasting the seeds is very easy. There are many different spice combinations to appeal to different palettes. Simple instructions are as follows:

Roast the seeds for 20-30 minutes in a 375-degree oven with or without salt and pepper seasoning or add a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil and add sweet combination of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg or a southwestern combination of salt, chili powder, cayenne and cumin.

Another suggestion for using up your seeds is to make a pumpkin seed brittle.

Pureeing the gooie innards makes for a delicious pumpkin soup or risotto. 

Baked or boiled pumpkins can be mashed for butters, pies, breads and other baked goods or just mixed with maple syrup or brown sugar for a seasonal side dish.

Other uses for your pumpkin after you have carved it include spreading the seeds for birds, squirrels and wildlife or adding the pumpkin guts and jack-o-lantern to the compost pile where they can decompose and add nutrients to your garden for next year.

The key is to think before you toss. Keep all parts of the pumpkin out of the landfill.

See more recipe ideas at Gothamist.