Don't Throw it Out! 5 Things You Can Do with Those Pumpkin Insides ;)

As you know already if you read my blog, I love everything and anything pumpkin.  I try to stock up on the organic BPA free cans of it in the fall so I can have it all year round.  Now that we have some extra land to garden with, I am hoping I can save some seeds for planting to hopefully have lots of pumpkins!

Another thing you probably know from reading my blog is I HATE wasting food.  Ironic, since I spent over half my life dealing with an eating disorder.  But moral of the story is I was raised in the "clean your plate" club, and I have roots there.  My husband belongs to the same club, so I expect our son will too! :o)

One of those "clean your plate" obsessions I have has to do with not letting food go to waste that we buy.  I am thankful that we are able to eat organic, and I do whatever I can to not let any of it get thrown out or wasted.  Ways I do this that I have been featured on the blog before, include making bone broth and soups.  In my Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup recipe, I share how can you save old veggies that seem on their way out to make a great soup!

Using up your whole pumpkin is another great example, and what I want to share on the blog today.  If you didn't buy one to carve or paint this year, then you are just missing out on some fall spirit!  Make sure to grab a pumpkin from your local patch or grocery store to decorate or carve... then don't throw it out!  Get ready for some great ideas on how to use the pumpkin insides after!

Here are my 5 favorite ways you can use those pumpkin insides:

1) Roasted pumpkin seeds.  Duh.  Too simple, but amazingly, I had never tried making this before this year.  Here's what you need:

1 cup or however many pumpkin seeds you want!

Soak the seeds in water for 2 hours.  This should help get any pumpkin residue off.  Then dry on a towel till completely dry (I did overnight).  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the seeds with about a tablespoon of coconut oil (or other oil of your choice) per cup.  Add a topping if you like (ex. salt and pepper, cinnamon and spine, cayenne, etc.).  Pop them in the oven, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Once they start to brown a little, they are ready to serve!

2) Pumpkin seed butter.  What's awesome about this recipe is that it's gluten free, vegan, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free and soy free.  That's a lot of frees! :o) You need:

rinse and dried 2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp oil (I used coconut!)
2-3 tbsp honey (optional)
1 tspn cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in food processor or blender, and be prepared to be there for a little while. You need to coarse chop and scrap down sides and repeatedly pulse for a 2-3 minutes to get it going.  Then you need to continue to blend for 8-10 minutes until you get your desired consistency.  Enjoy with some root vegetables, gluten free bread or as an ingredient for baking or salad dressing.

3) Pumpkin butter.  This recipe is so easy but so bad.  By bad, I'm referring to the sugar department!  If that is a category you have more flexibility in with your gut, this is a special treat you can make to go along with some gluten free bread and muffins.  Here's what you need:

3 1/2 cups of pumpkin insides (that gooey stuff!)
1 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup apple or peach cider/juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves

Warm the pumpkin insides until warmed through in a large saucepan on high for 10 minutes. Then add the sugar, juice and spices and stir well.  Bring mixture to a boil and cover.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Then remove from heat and let sit before removing the lid for about 10 minutes.  Serve immediately or can keep in a glass jar or other airtight container in fridge for 3 weeks.

4) Pumpkin seed pate.  You are probably thinking what the heck is that?!  Well, we have a few local vegan restaurants here that introduced me to the "seed pate" concept, and I fell in love.  Prior, I thought pate only referred to liver, and I just have had such a hard time liking liver.  But you can make seed pates that have a nice, crunchy and less sweet texture that goes great on sandwiches, tortilla wraps, or collard green/spinach wraps.  It's also easy to make.  It's similar to making the pumpkin seed butter but requires a lot less time.  Here is the recipe:

1/2 medium sized apple
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/2 tsp himalayan sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Soak your pumpkin seeds for 2 to 3 hours and then set out to dry overnight (or about 6 hours).  Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until you get the desired consistency.  Mine came out pretty crunchy rather than smooth!  Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a few days.

5) Pumpkin puree.  As simple as it sounds.  You can use the meat of the pumpkin to puree or mash and put in any recipe you like!  This is great to use for desserts, soups, breads, sauces, etc.  Or you can cut it up and roast it like squash.  You need:

As much as you want of pumpkin meat! Cut up in 1 inch squares.
Coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Coat the pumpkin with coconut oil (or oil of your choice) and roast for 50 minutes.  I like to add nutritional yeast or salt or cinnamon to top mine.  Can substitute for the butternut squash in my Creamy Butternut Squash Soup recipe or use in my Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup Recipe. Enjoy!




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