Halloween is the season for taking a really big knife, hunting down your prey, bringing it back to your lair, and carving away. Save the blood and guts for the movies – we’re talking about pumpkins.
But while gutting a gourd may be fun, there are plenty of things to do with pumpkins. Here are 10 of our favorites.
1. Roasting pumpkin seeds
After you cut the top off and scoop out the guts, wash the goop off the seeds. Then spray them very lightly with nonstick spray and toast them on a cookie sheet in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing every now and then. When they’re lightly browned, remove and cool for 10 minutes before eating.
2. Mashed pumpkin and potatoes
Make mashed potatoes, but substitute cubed and peeled pumpkin for half the spuds.
Cut the pumpkin into chunks, then cut off the rind and scrape off the seeds and their membranes. Now you’ve got pieces you can boil or roast with those potatoes.
3. Pumpkin cake or bread
Grate wedges of seeded, peeled pumpkin flesh through the large holes of a box grater, then substitute them for grated carrots or zucchini in a cake or bread recipe.
4. Roasted pumpkin
Toss 2-inch pieces of peeled, seeded pumpkin in a roasting pan with just enough olive oil to create a thin coating, then roast in a preheated 375°F oven until tender, about 1 hour, tossing occasionally.
5. Grilled pumpkin
Seed, peel and cut a pumpkin into 1-inch chunks. Toss these in a big bowl with some balsamic vinegar, a dried herb like oregano or thyme, salt and pepper.
Now, crank up the grill to medium heat. Spray the pumpkin pieces with nonstick spray, then set them directly over the heat. Grill until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, turning twice.
These go really well with steak.
6. Pumpkin soup bowl
Cut tops off small pumpkins and scoop out the guts. Place the pumpkins in roasting pan and bake at 350°F just until tender – about 45 minutes. Fill with hot soup off the stove and serve.
The pumpkin flesh will add some extra taste to the soup.
7. Pumpkin chili
Seed, peel and cube a small pumpkin, then add it as a vegetable in your favorite chili recipe.
Cut those bits of pumpkin small, into 1/2-inch cubes, so they’ll cook more quickly. After an hour over the heat, they’ll give a nice, sweet taste to the fiery chili.
8. Pumpkin pie
Instead of using the canned goop, make yourself a homemade pumpkin pie.
Peel, seed and chunk up one or two small pumpkins. Place them in a covered vegetable steamer and steam over simmering water until tender – about 20 minutes. Purée in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and substitute this for canned pumpkin in your favorite recipe.
9. Pumpkin smoothie
With the leftover puree you had from the pie, add a few tablespoons to your favorite post-workout smoothie or protein drink.
10. Beer cooler
Before your next party, cut the top off a couple really large pumpkins and dig out the guts. Fill pumpkins with bottled beer or sodas, then add ice.
Your adult friends can pick out their treats, while the kids go looking for candy.