Carving pumpkins for Halloween is an absolute must. It is a great festive activity that allows you to be as creative as possible. It’s also super easy and can allow you to be creative without any real skill.
They’re also a great, eco-friendly way to make your own decorations. There are few festive holidays where the main decorations are handmade, let alone made from recyclable, compostable and eco-friendly materials.
So, can you reuse your pumpkins after Halloween?
Yes, you absolutely can! But, you don’t want to be reusing soggy, moldy pumpkins that have been sitting on your front porch for a month. If you’re goal is not disposal, but reuse, be sure to scroll to the final section where we share tips on keeping your pumpkins fresh.
Eat The Flesh
We all know this, but sometimes it can easily be forgotten that pumpkins are food before they are decoration. The flesh is delicious and can be easily used for a wide range of recipes.
These recipes include:
- Pumpkin pie
- Pumpkin soup
- Spiced pumpkin cake
- Roasted pumpkin
- Pumpkin mash
Cooking a pumpkin is super easy. It’s almost like cooking a sweet potato (just with some seeds inside). All you need to do is chop the pumpkin, peel it, which is a lot easier than you might think, and boil them. Then, you either blend, mash, or roast the pumpkin.
Pumpkin can be easily used in sweet or savory dishes. It is an incredibly versatile vegetable that should be utilized a lot more. Most recipes will call for canned pumpkin puree. But using fresh pumpkin and making the puree from scratch is much tastier. Plus, it’s much more satisfying.
Eat the Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, as you will surely already know, make delicious snacks. They are also super easy to prepare. You can eat the seeds raw but they’re not as nice and are quite chewy. The best option is to roast them.
To roast pumpkin seeds, you first need to remove them from the pumpkin. If you have carved your pumpkins into jack-o lanterns, you likely scooped out the seeds and other innards beforehand. If you have yet to begin carving, make sure you remove every seed and don’t throw them away!
Once you have removed them, the stringy innards of the pumpkin will be very closely attached. This can be difficult to get off but it’s worth it. It will be easiest when dry, so leave the innards in a bowl for a few hours. If they’re still wet, you can use some paper towels to pat them down.
Then rub and scrape the stringy innards off the seeds. You can use your bare hands for this. But it might be easier with paper towels as they will make it less slippery. Try both and see which one works for you.
Then, place the oven on a low heat. Around 300°F will do. While the oven is heating up, you can season the seeds. You can add whichever seasoning you like. But spices, such as paprika, and salt work best. Then, spread the seeds out evenly across a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Place in the oven for around 20 minutes. Then give them a bit of a shake so both sides are cooked evenly. After another 10 minutes or so, they should have dried out and be ready for snacking.
If you’re staring at some moldy pumpkins that have been pelted with rain and other bad weather, you’re probably thinking that there is absolutely no way that you will eat any part of them.
This is fair enough and also very sensible. Eating pumpkins is only a good idea if the skin is still tough. If it has gone soft or discolored, then it’s no longer edible.
So, what can you do with these inedible pumpkins? Don’t throw them away, compost them! Moldy rotten pumpkins might be disgusting to us but they will be delicious for worms and bacteria that live in the ground.
Simply break up the pumpkin and place it in your garden compost bin or your kitchen waste bin. If you don’t have either of these, just ask around.
There might be a local composting center in your neighborhood. Or you might have a green-thumbed neighbor who would jump at the chance to compost your old pumpkins.
Why You Should Reuse or Recycle Your Pumpkins
Pumpkins are great fun at Halloween. So we’re definitely not telling you to stop carving them. In fact, we say that you should make as many decorations by hand as you can!
Carving pumpkins is such an old tradition that people often forget that you are essentially making handmade decorations. But, if everyone were to throw away their pumpkins at the end of Halloween, then a huge amount of edible food is being wasted and it’s bad for the environment.
When trapped beneath other garbage, and inside a trash bag, food won’t break down properly. Food needs access to oxygen to properly breakdown and nourish the soil. Instead, the food scraps will produce methane which is bad for the environment.
Tips for Keeping Pumpkins Fresh and Reusable
Before you carve your pumpkin, make sure to follow these steps so they will still be reusable after Halloween.
- Carve them later. The closer to Halloween you carve your pumpkins, the less time they will be sitting out. This means that they will be as fresh as possible when you take down the decorations.
- Scrape them completely empty. Making sure that all of the insides have been removed will keep the pumpkin dry and stop it from going soft and moldy as quickly.
- Keep it indoors or sheltered. Make sure to keep your pumpkins away from the cold, wet, and windy fall elements.