For most people, pumpkins are a rare seasonal purchase used as festive Halloween décor. Whether they are carved into jack-o-lanterns and the insides tossed aside or just placed uncarved in front of a house for atmosphere, these pumpkins are not being used to their full potential. Consider these additional ways to maximize your seasonal pumpkin purchase. Stop at Harrisburg farms Strites’ Orchard or Fort Hunter to purchase a pumpkin, or browse and select your own Halloween pumpkin at local area farms Paulus Farm Market or Ashcombe.
Don’t abandon this tradition in an attempt to get full use of your pumpkin. Use a large, sharp knife to cut a complete circle on the top of your pumpkin, making a removable lid with the stem at the center. Scoop out the insides and collect them in a large bowl for later use. Cut a scary or comical face into your pumpkin, or try a more modern and decorative style by carving an all-over polka dot or star pattern. If you want to put a twist on this activity, try a chic design such as a script monogram or an old-fashioned silhouette. Trace letter or silhouette printouts from your computer onto the pumpkin, then cut out the shapes with your cutting tools. Don’t cut all the way through the pumpkin; leave a thin layer which will create a glowing effect when lit from inside.
Turn your leftovers from your jack-o-lantern into an irresistible seasonal meal or dessert. Make pumpkin the focus of a classic pumpkin pie, rich pumpkin soup or even pumpkin bread. Alternatively, you can use pumpkin to accent some of your favorite entrees, appetizers and desserts. Add pumpkin to your famous brownie or cookie recipe or use some to top cheesy tortellini or risotto. For something completely new, try your hand at the recipe for New World Chili by Better Homes and Gardens, incorporating pumpkin with cranberries, jalapenos, black beans and turkey.
Pumpkin seeds can make a deliciously salty or sweet snack with little effort. Rinse and dry your seeds, or leave them as they are for a pumpkin-infused flavor. Toss them in just enough oil to lightly coat, then add your choice of seasons. Try olive oil with salt and pepper for a simple snack, or sprinkle on some garlic salt, chili powder or cumin depending on your flavor preference. To suit a sweet tooth, toss in butter or neutral oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Experiment with different combinations of seasons to make various batches. Spread a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in a 400-degree oven until lightly browned.