Carving Halloween pumpkins is a storied tradition in my household. There's nothing better than getting the whole family together (and sometimes the whole neighborhood when we throw a carving party!) sharing pumpkin carving ideas. We take turns scooping out the goopy insides and carving our favorite spooky Jack-o'-Lanterns.
The only problem? I hate waste, and throwing away all those pumpkin guts is totally wasteful. So what can we do to recycle all that pumpkin flesh? Are there any pumpkin hacks that use leftover fresh pumpkin? Here's how to use your raw pumpkin guts in 11 different delicious and nifty ways.
1. Homemade Pumpkin Puree
There are a gajillion fall-themed recipes using pumpkin puree, so why not make your own? All you need to do is separate the seeds from the guts after removing them from the pumpkin with a carving tool and blend them in the food processor until they're smooth. You can even do this without using a carved pumpkin and instead buy a small pumpkin to use.
2. Homemade Stock or Broth
Store the guts in the freezer, seeds and all, after your pumpkin-carving fun. When you have enough vegetable scraps saved up, make a delicious from-scratch vegetable broth to use at your Halloween party as a base for a soup.
If veggie stock isn't your thing, frozen pumpkin works really well when infused into store-bought chicken broth. This is one of those great ideas you'll thank yourself for when you're out of stock and a recipe calls for it.
3. Pumpkin Juice
Turn your Halloween pumpkin into delicious pumpkin juice! Replicate this famous Harry Potter Diagon Alley drink with this recipe. Or, add it to your favorite smoothies, sauces, or soups to add some extra pumpkin flavor. We highly recommend making one of these drinks while wearing your Halloween costume and figuring out which pumpkin carving pattern you want to use.
All you need to do to make it is pour boiling water over the stringy bits and seeds, let it soak for 30 minutes, then strain out the solid parts. If you want to sweeten it lightly, a sprinkling of brown sugar with the boiling water will do just that. Pair with apple juice or apple cider for a spiced, seasonal sip. Perfect pumpkin juice at your service.
4. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This recipe is pretty well known, but that doesn't make it any less delicious! Contrary to popular belief, pepitas are not hulled pumpkin seeds (they're a hull-less pumpkin seed harvested from Styrian or oil seed pumpkins). So don't bother trying to pry the pumpkin seeds open before roasting. We recommend baking these up while you poke polka dots out of your easy pumpkin carving template.
5. Pumpkin Risotto
Have you ever made risotto with squash? Summer squash or winter squash, the result is the creamiest risotto you can imagine (and it's easier to make and more forgiving than normal risotto, too).
This recipe uses 1 cup of the pumpkin guts to transform what was once waste into magnificence. Can you say, "Boo!"?
6. Pumpkin Butter
Whip it up and spread it on toast and I'm a happy camper. This recipe couldn't be easier, just plop those large pumpkin guts into the slow cooker and before you know it, they'll be a deliciously spreadable condiment. This makes an excellent gift, too, if you're thinking of how to make some diy Halloween presents.
7. Hard Squash Hummus
Hummus isn't all about chickpeas anymore. People are making all kinds of flavored hummus, from beets to winter squash.
8. Pumpkin Float
It might be cold outside, but that doesn't mean that I'll pass up ice cream! Blend your ice cream together with those pumpkin guts and top it off with cream soda.
This recipe will convince you that ice cream doesn't have a season!
9. Pumpkin Sherbet
OK, now I'm stuck on an ice cream theme. What's the difference between sherbet and ice cream? Well, not much; it's usually made with fruit and has less dairy than ice cream.
The fruit in this recipe is pumpkin puree, but we now know that you can use pumpkin guts instead!
10. Pumpkin Donuts
If we're going to have ice cream, we definitely need donuts! These mini baked treats are both adorable and filled with pumpkin spice.
They're so easy to make, this recipe will be done in time to share with your cohorts in the pumpkin carving party!
11. Pumpkin Spice Latte
Save yourself a trip to Starbucks (and save your dollars for something else, too). Now, you can make the PSL at home! This recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, which is hardly an amount worth opening the can. Save those pureed pumpkin guts in the freezer for anytime you want this tasty treat, or steep them in milk to infuse the latte even further.