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Carving a Jack-O-Lantern? Don’t Throw Away the Guts!

If you are carving a jack-o-lantern with your family this month, why not utilize the whole pumpkin? Here are two easy recipes for using the pulp and seeds you will remove prior to putting a face on your pumpkin. First, make sure everyone handling the pumpkin has washed their hands. After removing the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the pulp and seeds with a metal spoon or with your hands and place everything in a large bowl. You may need a paring knife to cut away some of the fibrous strings. Next, remove the seeds, cleaning pulp off of them as you go. Place the seeds in a colander and rinse them, removing more pulp as you rinse. Discard or compost the fibrous strings. Lay the seeds out on paper towels and pat them dry or let them sit until dry. The remaining pulp can be used in any pumpkin recipe, such as the smoothie recipe below. If you are not a smoothie fan, you can use the pulp as a replacement for butter or oil in baking recipes. The flavor of pulp from a large pumpkin may not be as strong as from smaller pumpkins, but it’s still fine to use.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack. High in fiber, protein, antioxidants and minerals, they are also linked to a reduction in risk of certain cancers.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. After rinsing and drying your seeds, place them in a bowl and toss them with one to two tablespoons of cooking oil, depending on the amount of seeds you have. Add some salt and mix well. You can also add other flavors such as garlic powder, wasabi powder, taco seasoning or Worcestershire sauce. Spread the seeds on a large baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes, but check them every ten minutes in case your oven cooks faster or unevenly.

Pumpkin Smoothie

Like the seeds, pumpkin pulp is highly nutritious. High in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C, it may also help with high blood pressure.

Add these ingredients to your blender: 3/4 cup pumpkin pulp, 1 frozen banana broken into chunks, 1 cup chilled lite coconut milk or other plant milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 maple syrup. Blend well. Taste, and add additional maple syrup if it’s not sweet enough, and more milk of it is too thick.


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