While some limit their pumpkin use to carving one for Halloween, there’s a few things you can do with pumpkin – it is a worthy vegetable.
If you do carve it, that does limit use somewhat to the seeds, but if you use pumpkins simply for yard/step decorations as many do, you can do a lot with them:
- Roast Pumpkin Seeds: Remove seeds, rinse and dry, add seasonings (garlic and onion powder, celery seed, etc) drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven on a baking sheet at 325F. Turn over after 5 minutes and roast for another 10 minutes. They will crisp up and be a nice snack.
- Steam Pumpkin: After the seeds are removed, cut the pumpkin into sections (do not peel) and steam with water in either a rice cooker, vegetable steamer, in a pot on the stove or in the oven. It takes about 30 minutes to steam the pumpkin pulp until it’s tender. Cool to handle and spoon out the pulp from the peel – it’s easy to do when still warm. It can then be eaten as a vegetable or used in baking.
- Ready Pumpkin for Desserts: The steamed pulp should be blended for baking – a stick (immersion) blender works great for this, to blend it so it’s not too stringy. Add pumpkin to any of your muffin or loaf recipes, reducing other liquid ingredients accordingly. You can also freeze the pumpkin – it keeps rather well.
- Make Pumpkin Pies: Fresh pumpkin makes much tastier pies than the canned variety. Once it has been blended, just add the rest of the ingredients from your favorite pumpkin pie recipe to the fresh pumpkin, as you would do if you were using a store-bought can of pumpkin. For one pie, you’ll need about 2 cups of steamed pumpkin. A small 8″ pumpkin will provide enough for a large pie and a little more for other baking.
You can enjoy decorating the yard or steps with pumpkins for several days – they can tolerate a mild frost, then bring them in and process them. Once you’ve made homemade pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin, you’ll likely never want to go back to buying pumpkin in a tin.