My good friend and member of my creative team (which really isn’t a “team”, more like me bouncing blog ideas off her to see if she likes them) Lateca Roman and I were discussing her son’s school trip to the Pumpkin Patch a few weeks ago and I happened to ask her what she did with the pumpkin after it was brought home.

“Well, Marc usually will carve it.”

“OK…then what?”

“Then we put it on the porch for Halloween.”

“Then what?”

“Then we throw it away!”

So of course I go into Fab Foodie mode and tell her that she can make 1,000 things with her pumpkin instead of throwing it away. Her response?

“You should write a blog about it!”

Yesterday, during our daily phone conversation, Lateca reminded me that I needed to post my blog about pumpkins, since Halloween is Sunday. So, without further ado…

No, I am NOT going to give you 1,000 things you can do with your carved pumpkin. In retrospect, I think the smartest thing you can do with your carved pumpkin (especially if it has sat outside on your porch for a few days) is throw it away. The flesh has been exposed to all types of elements and is probably in the early stages of decay. Not a desirable combination for cooking. However, if your pumpkin is uncarved and still in good condition after the holidays, keep reading for some tips on how to make your pumpkin last a bit longer.

One of my favorite childhood memories is my 2nd grade class’ attempt at making pumpkin bread. My teacher allowed all of us to participate in the process, and we all got a chance to eat the fruits of our labor. Needless to say, pumpkin bread is my first suggestion. It’s super easy to make and is delicious for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Pumpkin muffins are also a good option. I love making sweet breads like banana bread, pumpkin bread, and sweet potato bread in the fall and winter because they warm the house, smell wonderful while baking, and you can freeze the bread and/or muffins and defrost and serve when you are ready. They are also great to make for company potlucks because you can make it the night before and it can be served at room temperature.

Another suggestion for your pumpkin is to cut it up and use it in soups or stews in place of potatoes. After all, you CAN eat pumpkin in other things besides bread and pie! Be creative! Instead of roasting sweet potatoes, try roasted pumpkin instead. Field pumpkins, the variety of pumpkin normally found at the Pumpkin Patch, are great for this use because its flesh is more fibrous than varieties such as Sugar Pie, Baby Bear, or Cheese Pumpkins, whose flesh is sweeter and used for purees.

If you plan to turn your pumpkin into a Jack O’ Lantern for Halloween, don’t throw those seeds away! Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are very nutritious and your kids will love them. Simply rinse off the seeds after taking them out of the pumpkin cavity and let them dry out overnight. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t want to buy a whole pumpkin to enjoy the seeds, Trader Joe’s and Yes! Organic Market both sell raw pepitas already shelled. They are a great evening snack!

So there you are, proud pumpkin owners. Find some new ways to get your money’s worth from that trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

As a side note, I wanted to let you all know that I’m still working on getting my mojo back. It’s a slow process, but I’m trying. Keep the encouragement flowing – I really appreciate it!

 Happy eating!

The Fab Foodie

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