Now that Halloween is over, chances are you have some pumpkins sitting around. Don’t throw them out! Instead, save them and roast them. Unfortunately, carved jack o’lanterns have been open to the elements, so this will only work with whole pumpkins.
There are many good uses for cooked pumpkin as we move into the pumpkin-obsessed season. Pumpkin pie lattes, pumpkin ginger scones, and Grandma’s pumpkin pie on the table for Thanksgiving Day all pose to derail even the most diligent diet and exercise routine. But, pumpkin itself is not the culprit.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and many vitamins and anti-oxidants. Did you know that the going rate is about $3.99 for a can of organic pumpkin? No thanks! I put in a little elbow grease and cooked up everything I bought as my fall holiday decor instead.
If you haven’t done this before, it’s a little tough cutting the pumpkins, so be careful. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and goo, then place the chunks with the inside flesh part down in about .5 – 1 inch of water in a baking dish. If you have large pumpkins, then cut in half again, or as much as you need to fit in the pan. They take about 45 – 60 minutes at 350 degrees depending on thickness and size of pieces. It’s easy to test for doneness; poke with a fork and if it pokes in easily, then it’s done.
Once it’s done cooking, let it cool and then remove the hard outer skin. Puree or mash up the flesh for use in pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothies or even stir it in your marinara sauce to add some vitamins. I even made homemade pumpkin dog cookies that were good enough for human consumption. If you find yourself with only the jack o’lanterns looking worse for the wear and can’t roast or bake them, try to compost them. Also, you can cut them up and leave pieces out for a few days in a bowl for the birds and squirrels.
I love pumpkin. Not only is it a versatile food working well in both sweet and savory recipes, but it helps my dogs with their digestive issues and even soothes and firms the skin. I haven’t tried any pumpkin facials yet, but check back with me sometime.
Check out my recipe for Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Shakes, rich in fiber to keep you full throughout the morning.
Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Shake
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1/2 c full fat, greek yogurt
1/4 c pumpkin puree
1-2 cups your favorite milk or non-dairy milk
cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to taste
a couple ice cubes
Blend up in any blender and voila!
Pumpkin freezes really well, but if you’re saving it for pies, you may want to press out some of the liquid or puree it with a blender before freezing.