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Recycle Pumpkins – 6 after Halloween uses for your pumpkin

Halloween has come and gone – what are you going to do with your pumpkin? Don’t let it rot and toss it – we have other ideas that you can use that jack-o-latern for! From compost to pickling, chicken food and pumpkin puree we can satisfy your frugal mind and soothe your eco friendly soul. Recycling doesn’t just apply to plastics and other traditional items – you can recycle pumpkins as well!

avl-blog-pumpkin
Pumpkin carved by AshevilleBlog site owner in 2013

Before Carving

These suggestions are for those pumpkins that you purchased but just never got around to carving.

  1. If you love the flavor of pumpkin, you’ll love the flavor of this pumpkin soup. Best part is, you won’t need to dirty a dish for serving – this delectable dinner is prepared and can be served inside the pumpkin rind itself!
  2. Wait – don’t throw those guts out! Instead of tossing the pumpkin innards in the trash, separate the seeds from the slime. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc and a tasty snack.
  3. The slime – or pulp – inside of the pumpkin can be saved and turned into the puree. Once you have separated the seeds from the pulp, steam the pulp over boiling water for roughly 30 minutes, or until tender. Using a food processor to puree the pulp and freeze to save. You can use the puree in muffins, bread, or even as the basis of your very own fresh pumpkin pie!

After Carving

So, you’ve carved your pumpkin, the holiday is over, and now what? Don’t let your creation rot on the front porch – set it to good use instead!

  1. Make sure to remove the candle from your pumpkin and scrape away any wax drippings from the bottom. If the pumpkin is not moldy, you can cut it into large pieces and throw it out in your yard for wildlife to consume. You would be surprised at how many birds enjoy the taste of pumpkin!
  2. For the true die hard eco-hearts, if your pumpkin has survived unscathed from the holidays, and is carved but shows no signs of mold or rot, you can pickle the rinds to preserve for future dinners. Here’s how: Peel off the outer skin and cut the white-colored rind (about 1 inch thick) into two inch squares. For each pound of pumpkin, use 3/4 lb sugar, 2 cups vinegar and a piece of fresh ginger. Use a stick of cinnamon for the whole batch of several pounds. Put pumpkin in vinegar and let it soak overnight. Remove the pumpkin from vinegar (discard) and let it dry on a towel. Bring fresh vinegar to a boil with sugar, ginger and a stick of cinnamon. Add pumpkin and simmer until pieces are translucent and golden yellow, about 3 hours on low heat. Never stir with a spoon; just shake the pot occasionally so the pumpkin doesn’t fall apart. Can and seal, or store in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.
  3. Pumpkin rotted, or are you not the pickling type? Save the planet and instead of chucking your pumpkin in the waste bin, cut up the remaining rind into 4 pieces and throw onto a compost pile. Pumpkins make a great compost additive, and will break down fairly quickly when cut up into smaller pieces. One less item headed to the landfill.

Although I’ve not added this as an official item of the list, if you are too freaked out by the texture of the pumpkin pulp or just not into the taste of pumpkin, save your pumpkin guts from a wasteful fate. Instead of throwing them out, if available, toss them to your chickens! Chickens love pumpkin.

Have you done something else with your pumpkin rinds that we don’t have listed here? Tell us about your creative pursuits in the comments below. We hope you had a safe and hearty Halloween!

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