How to Use Your Pumpkin Jack O Lantern Again

October 18, 2011 Three comments View all articles in Re-Use-It

Here at ChasingGreen, we've been racking our brains looking for ways our readers can make Halloween a greener holiday. One of the most essential Halloween experiences is, of course, carving pumpkins and then decorating the house and porch with Jack O'Lanterns. These orange gourds are so integral to Halloween, in fact, that more than 1.7 billion pounds of them are sold in the US each year! When Halloween's over, however, what happens to all those carved pumpkins? Sure, they're compostable, but not everyone has the room or proper set-up to do that in their backyard. Here are a few ways you can reuse pumpkins after Halloween and, as a result, make the holiday and the planet a little bit healthier.

RE-USING YOUR JACK O LANTERN

Roast the Seeds: Fabulous Foods offers a great, simple recipe on how to make your own roasted pumpkin seeds.

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Remove any pulp or strings from the seeds.
  • Toss in a mixing bowl 1 ½ cups cleaned pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil, along with salt to taste.
  • Or, try making a pumpkin pie variation with equal parts cinnamon, ground ginger, a pinch of nutmeg, and the same amount of butter. More yummy variations are available at the Fabulous Foods website.
  • Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are golden.

Plant an Organic Pumpkin Patch: Save some of the seeds from your pumpkin carving and plant them in your back yard. Follow pesticide-free, all-natural gardening practices and you'll have wholesome, organic pumpkins for the picking in no time at all!

Donate your Pumpkin: Check with your local zoo to see if they'd accept your leftover pumpkins. They're known to feed pumpkins to the zoo animals, particularly the hippos, as a Halloween treat!

Make Pumpkin Fries: Oh, yum. Follow the recipe provided by Yum Sugar to make delicious pumpkin fries!

Preserve your Pumpkin: Why purchase canned pumpkin for your Thanksgiving recipes when you can freeze your Halloween pumpkin? For specific instructions, visit the Farmers Almanac website!

Make a Scarecrow: Use the Jack O'Lantern you make for Halloween as the head of your backyard harvest scarecrow! The wrinkles and crumpling that take place as the pumpkin begins to decompose will only add extra character to the scarecrow! Just remember to compost the pumpkin after it's served its purpose.

Make a Vase: Sometimes Jack O'Lanterns freeze while sitting out on the front step, which means they can last for weeks and weeks without showing signs of rotting. If that's the case for one of your Jack O'Lanterns, don't throw it away just because Halloween's over. Fill it with flowers, pinecones, acorns, or any other Thanksgiving or seasonal accents.

Donate for Composting: As we said in the introduction, not everyone has space for composting on their property. If that's the case for you, contact your local community garden to find out if they would like to add your leftover pumpkins to their compost pile. Go to CommunityGarden.org to locate one near you.

Comments:

Karen A. Krall on Oct. 20, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.

I like this! Can I subscribe?

Chasing Green on Oct. 20, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.

It's great to hear you like ChasingGreen Karen! You can subscribe to our rss feed by clicking on the "Subscribe" link in the top right of the home page. You can also "like" us on Facebook so that when we put out new articles you are updated through your newsfeed. Hopefully soon we'll be able to offer a weekly wrap up email newsletter for those that would like that option.

April Burns on Oct. 20, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.

April’s Zayante Stuffed Pumpkin

One big red princess pumpkin
two whole organic chickens
one big onion and some garlic
3 cups white (basmati) rice uncooked
a bag and a half of frozen peas
A qt. jar of your favorite tomato sauce
fresh salsa (mild or hot)
cheese possibilities: jack, cheddar, fresh mozzarella
or for lactose sensitives feta is good
turmeric (for color)
salt and pepper
bay leaf
small colorful sweet peppers
mushrooms (any kind)
cayenne

Slow cook chickens over low heat in maybe
two qt. water
with onion, bay leaves and peppers , S&P

De-bone the cooked chickens (save bones for a later chicken stock)

Reduce the chicken stock down to 6 cups of liquid
then add 1 tsp turmeric for color
cook rice in stock 3 cups rice to six cups of stock

Grate cheese
sauté peppers and mushrooms

Cut a lid out of top of pumpkin
Scoop out pumpkin guts and scrape inside wall. (you can roast seeds in tamari and butter for later and if you save the pumpkin scrapings make pumpkin pie)
You want the wall of the pumpkin shell to be about 1 inch thick.

Cook pumpkin shell in microwave (with water in small glass bowl inside shell) pumpkin lid included until pumpkin flesh is firm but softish inside for about 18 min. You don't want the shell to collapse. This can also be done in oven on low heat 350
Place cooked pumpkin on round ovenproof plate
Rub the inside of the pumpkin shell with crushed garlic, S&P and a little cayenne
Layer ingredients inside shell
rice
chicken
sauce
still frozen peas
cheese
2 or three layers of everything 'til you reach the top
put on pumpkin shell lid and cook in pre heated oven
at 350 for an hour or so.
Just long enough to melt the cheese inside

I use a little cayenne along with the turmeric in the
rice if I want a spicier pumpkin

Serve whole on a bed of pumpkins leaves. (very pretty)
Cut and serve in pie slices with green salad and a good hearty bread.

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