HOW TO USE EVERY PART OF A PUMPKIN – No Food Waste
A Pumpkin is great at Halloween for decorating and for kids to carve, but many pumpkins, and in many countries of the world, pumpkins are wasted and not used to their full potential.
Even if you are doing great and roasting the pumpkin and making soup or some desserts, often the seeds, ‘guts’ and skin or rind get’s binned. But these all can be used too and no need to contribute to the landfill.
Here are the uses for the complete pumpkin (and same goes for squash varieties too):
Use The Pumpkin Flesh
Use The Pumpkin Seeds
Use The Pumpkin ‘Guts’
Use The Skin Of The Pumpkin
How To Use The Pumpkin Flesh
Ok so you can roast the pumpkin and use the flesh for blitzing into pumpkin soup. You can also just roast smaller pieces of raw pumpkin and eat as a healthier alternative to roast potatoes, with no need for salt or oils or fats.
You can also keep the roasted pumpkin and scrape off the cooked flesh and make your own roasted pumpkin puree. (See above). With pumpkin puree comes hundreds of recipes, from sweet breads, muffins & cakes, to pumpkin spiced latte and the very popular pumpkin pie. You can also make savoury dishes too, such as pumpkin risotto & pumpkin hummus. The list is endless. You can also safely freeze pumpkin puree to use at a later date.
How To Use The Pumpkin Seeds
Most people will be aware that they can use the seeds of a pumpkin but rarely do. The seeds do get tangled in-between the pumpkin ‘guts’ and so you do need to separate them. But they are easily roasted to have as a snack. You can roast with salt or other seasons and eat them with or without the shell. Pumpkin seeds are nutritious, and high in protein, omega oils and magnesium and contain anti-oxidants & B vitamins1. For more information on the possible health benefits of pumpkin seeds, check this website – Healthline.com Recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds below:Jump to Recipe
How To Use The Pumpkin ‘Guts’
Know as the ‘guts’ of the pumpkin, this is the stringy-like membranes that are between the seeds and the pumpkin flesh. Often just scooped out and discarded, these too can be used for no waste. These ‘guts’ can be used as a vegetable sock for any of your cooking. Just use with other vegetables as if you were making a regular vegetable stock.
How To Use The Skin Of The Pumpkin
If you are just carving your pumpkin or even if you are roasting the pumpkin, you will still have the pumpkin skin or rind left over. This, like the ‘guts’ is the most wasted part of the pumpkin. But you can also save yourself from wasting it, and actually add it to your food bin or compost heap. It is entirely degradable and will turn to compost so absolutely no reason to just discard it with household waste.
So to summarise, there is no reason to waste any part of a pumpkin or squash. It is all usable and by making compost from it, it continues to give and help reduce food waste. So next time you have a pumpkin or are carving one for Halloween, take a minute and remember to try and use all the parts this time.
As promised here is my recipe for making the roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Tray for drying seeds
- Clean Tea-towel or kitchen paper/paper towels
- Baking tray/sheet
- Baking/parchment paper
- Cooling rack
- Jar for the seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds (& or squash seeds) Amount you have will depend on size of your pumpkins.
- Smoked Paprika
- Infused Oil (Spray) Or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used a Onecal Garlic infused spray oil but any can be used)
- Garlic Pepper (This is a blend of dried Garlic, black pepper corns, red and green bell peppers, dried onion & garlic Oil, made by Swartz but you could make your own or a combination).
Dry Out The Pumpkin Seeds
- Separate the seeds from the pumpkin 'guts' and then rinse well before drying them out. To do this, place the seeds on top of either a clean tea-towel or kitchen paper/paper towel, placed on top of a tray. Be sure to separate them so they dry out easier. Note that using paper, a few will have a tendency to stick to the paper once dried. Leave to dry out near a radiator or somewhere warm, over-night. This long drying time is optional, but reducing baking time.
Flavour The Pumpkin Seeds
- Once the pumpkin seeds are completely dried out you can roast them. But first you can coat them with a seasoning of your choice or so a few different ones. For this batch of photos, I made 3 flavours – salt, garlic pepper and a smoked paprika version. To flavour them, simply coat in oil and then with your seasoning. Use more seasoning than you think you need, as some will not stay on the seeds. For the smoked paprika ones, I sprayed with garlic infused cooking oil by OneCal first before coating them. I found it easy enough to just place the seeds on the baking/parchment paper on the baking tray, and season there. But you can also choose to season in a bowl if you like.
Roast The Pumpkin Seeds
- Have your seeds spread apart on the baking tray/sheet lined with baking/parchment paper, and bake for about 10 minutes, at 190°c/170°c Fan Oven/375°f/Gas Mark 5. I baked for 7 minutes and then tested them, and turned the tray and baked a further 3 minutes till toasted and crunchy. Remove from the oven and place the baking tray/sheet on the cooling rack to cool down. Once cooled down, eat or store in a jar till ready to eat.
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DIFFICULTY LEVEL: easy, beginner
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1 Information taken from Healthline.com – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds