The ideas below will delight your taste buds, save you money, and help keep pumpkins out of the landfill.It’s now standard to eat tomatoes in January, but pumpkins typically don’t make their culinary appearance until the actual harvest season, from late summer through fall.Each year, thousands of acres of farmland are used to grow Halloween pumpkins only to have tons of jack-o’-lanterns sent to the landfill once the holiday is over.Pumpkins are only one small part of the staggering amount of food waste in the United States.In fact, 50% of all the food we Americans buy ends up in the trash can.Now, with that info in mind, here are a bunch of delicious uses for Halloween pumpkins that are WAY better than putting them in the trash!Pumpkin seeds can be scooped out with a spoon, tossed with a little olive oil and salt, and baked or wok-fried to create a healthy and delicious snack.After you’re done using your jack-o’-lantern as a decoration (and you’ve removed the seeds for eating as per tip #1), you’ll want to make pumpkin puree.Whole pumpkins can be stored for many months, but once they’ve been carved, they should be used within a few days.It may sound a bit odd at first, but pumpkin pickles are actually really tasty.Pumpkin chili is a delicious and seasonal way to warm up on a chilly fall day.We can say with certainty that this pumpkin chili with turkey and black beans recipe is amazing.They’ve got the flavor of pumpkin pie but are great for on-the-go, making them an excellent seasonal snack for kids.Homemade pumpkin bread or muffins are sure to be a hit at any fall gathering, especially if you toss in a few chocolate chips!Just be sure to do your research or talk to your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.Pumpkin butter is quick to make and can be eaten on toast, crackers, or frozen for later use.Disappearing whole wheat pumpkin spice pancakes will have you and your kids scrambling for a seat at the breakfast table.Rather than treating them purely as a throw away holiday decoration, utilize them as the nutritious, delicious, history-rich food that they are. .
6 Things You May Not Know About Pumpkins
Harvested in October, this nutritious and versatile orange fruit features flowers, seeds and flesh that are edible and rich in vitamins.Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a popular Halloween tradition that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland.Back then, however, jack-o’-lanterns were made out of turnips or potatoes; it wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered the pumpkin that a new Halloween ritual was born.Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini.It was then nasalized by the French into "pompo”, which the English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion,” and so on until American settlers arrived at the word we use today. .
How to Recycle Your Halloween Pumpkins
Instead of piling them up for trash day, try our eco-friendly ideas for repurposing, reusing, or recycling your gourds post-October.Sara's Silky Pumpkin Pie Credit: Peter Frank Edwards.Some varieties like Jarrahdale, Hubbard, and Pie pumpkins are grown specifically for eating, so they have naturally sweet, smooth flesh.See if you can donate leftover pumpkins to zoos, animal shelters, farms, or community gardens.Attract feathered friends to your yard by turning your Halloween pumpkin into a bird feeder.Just cut a pumpkin in half horizontally, empty the cavity, and fill it with birdseed.Either leave it out as is or hang it from a tree with several lengths of thick twine or rope wrapped under the base.Turn pumpkin smashing into a fun family activity; you probably won't have to look far to find willing participants.Even when Halloween's over, you can keep the festivities going strong with fun activities using your leftover pumpkin.Try pumpkin bowling by filling plastic bottles with water and setting them up in a 10-pin triangle.Your old Halloween pumpkin also makes the perfect snack for neighborhood wildlife, which you may have already noticed, especially if you have resident squirrels. .
Why Do We Carve Pumpkins at Halloween?
In Ireland, people started to carve demonic faces out of turnips to frighten away Jack’s wandering soul.Halloween is based on the Celtic festival Samhain, a celebration in ancient Britain and Ireland that marked the end of summer and the beginning of the new year on November 1. .
The History Behind Pumpkins and Halloween
You might bring one home from a pumpkin patch or the grocery store and carve it into a jack-o'-lantern.The history of pumpkins and their use at Halloween contains a mixture of interesting facts and Celtic folklore.Native Americans carried pumpkin seeds into other parts of North America.Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, found pumpkins in what is now part of Canada in 1584.It was the influence of Irish immigrants, however, that made the pumpkin a part of Halloween.The Irish remembered this story each year by carving scary faces on turnips and placing a burning piece of coal inside.However, when the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they discovered that pumpkins were more readily available and made better jack-o'-lanterns than turnips.Over time, the practice of carving spooky faces on a pumpkin evolved into other forms of pumpkin-carving.The Irish would set the carved pumpkins or turnips by their doors and windows in hopes that they would protect them.At one time, people believed that pumpkins could be used to remove freckles and heal snake bites.Some people also believed that pumpkin could cure diarrhea and constipation in dogs and cats.These medicinal claims have been debunked, but there remain plenty of good uses for the pumpkin. .
How to Reuse Pumpkins After Halloween
When the ghosts and ghouls have gone home and the Halloween decor is packed into storage, we’re faced with a question:.While we don’t want to eat a pumpkin that’s been sitting outside, you can preserve the seeds and stringy parts during the carving process and work a little magic in the kitchen with them!If you’ve already discarded those innards, don’t worry — you can still give your carved Jack-o’-lantern a second life.Toss them with a little butter or olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 300 degrees until golden brown — about 45 minutes.Put all those insides in a big stock pot with any other veggies you have on hand, like onion, carrots, celery, garlic, fennel, and mushrooms.Add a bay leaf or two, cover with water, and simmer for about an hour, stirring a few times.Fill it with birdseed and hang it from a tree in your yard to enjoy the sights and sounds of fall birds as they migrate south.Another option is to cut your pumpkin into small pieces for the foraging animals, like squirrels and deer who are fattening up for winter.You can chop your pumpkin into small bits and add it to the compost heap for a dose of nitrogen as it decomposes.If you have a smaller pumpkin like the sugar pie or Jarrahdale varieties, you have lots of options, from sweet to savory!After splitting and roasting the halves of your pumpkin, scoop out the flesh and blend in a food processor.This recipe by Epicurious has lots of tasty Indian seasonings and rich coconut milk for a curry-style pumpkin soup.How about a tasty fall casserole of mushrooms, ground beef, and rice — served right inside your scooped out pumpkin?Sweetened with banana and spiced with nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon, this tasty smoothie recipe is a lighter, healthier version of pumpkin pie that you can drink. .
A jack-o'-lantern (or jack o'lantern) is a carved turnip, pumpkin or other root vegetable lantern, commonly associated with the Halloween holiday.The name is also tied to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a drunkard who bargains with Satan and is doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way.In a jack-o'-lantern, the top of the pumpkin or turnip is cut off to form a lid, the inside flesh is scooped out, and an image—usually a scary or funny face—is carved out of the rind to expose the hollow interior.To create the lantern effect, a light source, traditionally a flame such as a candle or tealight, is placed within before the lid is closed.The term jack-o'-lantern was originally used to describe the visual phenomenon ignis fatuus (lit., "foolish fire") known as a will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore. In the 19th century, "turnips or mangel wurzels, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces," were used on Halloween in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. In these Gaelic-speaking regions, Halloween was also the festival of Samhain and was seen as a time when supernatural beings (the Aos Sí), and the souls of the dead, walked the earth. For example, sometimes they were used by Halloween participants to frighten people, and sometimes they were set on windowsills to keep harmful spirits out of one's home.On January 16 in 1836, the Dublin Penny Journal published a long story on the legend of "Jack-o'-the-Lantern", although this does not mention the lantern being carved from a vegetable. In 1837, the Limerick Chronicle refers to a local pub holding a carved gourd competition and presenting a prize to "the best crown of Jack McLantern".There is also evidence that turnips were used to carve what was called a "Hoberdy's Lantern" in Worcestershire, England, at the end of the 18th century.Adaptations of Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820) often show the Headless Horseman with a pumpkin or jack-o'-lantern in place of his severed head. The carved pumpkin lantern's association with Halloween is recorded in the 1 November 1866 edition of the Daily News (Kingston, Ontario):.There was a great sacrifice of pumpkins from which to make transparent heads and face, lighted up by the unfailing two inches of tallow candle.Agnes Carr Sage, in the article, "Halloween Sports and Customs" (Harper's Young People (1885):.It is an ancient British custom to light great bonfires (Bone-fire to clear before Winter froze the ground) on Hallowe'en, and carry blazing fagots about on long poles; but in place of this, American boys delight in the funny grinning jack-o'-lanterns made of huge yellow pumpkins with a candle inside.In the United States, the carved pumpkin was first associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became a symbol of Halloween. An old Irish folk tale from the mid-18th century tells of Stingy Jack, a lazy yet shrewd blacksmith who uses a cross to trap Satan.Jack carved out one of his turnips (which were his favorite food), put the coal inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place.Sections of the pumpkin or turnip are cut out to make holes, often depicting a face, which may be either cheerful, scary, or comical.For a long time, Keene, New Hampshire, held the world record for most jack-o'-lanterns carved and lit in one place. .
Halloween Pumpkin Soup (Using Carving Leftovers)
Featuring an array of spices and creamy coconut milk, it makes for a delicious light meal that's also gluten-free. .