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Don’t Toss Your Halloween Pumpkin. Use It – Here’s How!

Aren’t jack-o-lanterns great? Take a quick walk through any neighbourhood at the end of October and you’ll be sure to find every stoop, porch, staircase and driveway lined with carefully carved pumpkins. It’s a beautiful sight to see!

But after Halloween…. dun, dun, duuun…. all those intricately carved masterpieces make their way to the curb. ☹

Ontario pumpkins have a plethora of interesting uses just waiting to be explored! Rather than leaving your Halloween display for the garbage collector, we hope to inspire you to do more with your pumpkin this year.

All pumpkins are edible, plain and simple. However, some are better for cooking or baking depending on their size and variety. If you, and the other hundreds of thousands of Canadians, use the medium to large size pumpkins for Halloween festivities, you might find that they are a little bit stringy and courser. These pumpkins are best puréed or in baked goodies! Don’t pass up the seeds either, they are delicious when toasted or baked, and are also be rich in potassium and protein.

Here are a few other great tips to get the most out of this delicious, versatile fruit… yes, we said fruit!

Tip 1: Instead of carving, try using a sharpie, stencil or stick-on artwork for your design. Set out whole, un-carved pumpkins for display so you can roast and eat it later, worry-free. Keeping locally grown pumpkins whole will allow them to stay fresh for weeks, so you can roast them when you see fit! The “meat” of the pumpkin can be used to make bread, soups, pies and purées. Pumpkin freezes easily, so roast a bunch and save it for late fall and winter recipes. It’s not hard to eat locally, all year long.

Tip 2: Love pumpkin spice lattes? Skip the expensive coffee shop and make your own Instagram-worthy #PSL – containing real pumpkin! Try this fun recipe at home! Or make these delicious Caramel & Pumpkin Parfaits, a treat the whole family will love.

Tip 3: Pumpkin puree is also great for our furry friends, helping with your pooch’s digestion, skin and coat health. It’s also great for the overweight pup in your life that needs to trim down. Add a tablespoon of puréed pumpkin to their food for extra fibre and nutrients.

Tip 4: If you’re not keen on eating pumpkin and don’t have a pet, pumpkin is a great self-care ingredient. This homemade pumpkin skin mask is full of vitamin A & C, which helps to not only soften and soothe the skin, but boost collagen production to prevent the signs of aging. Pumpkin also contains potassium, which helps promote healthy hair and regrowth. This homemade conditioner will help keep your locks looking and feeling fresh.So, skip the curbside drop this season, and make use of that locally grown pumpkin in new and exciting ways… your local pumpkin grower will thank you for it!

From delicious dishes full of flavour, to added health benefits for your dog’s diet, to all-natural self-care products, pumpkins have all kinds of uses. We hope we have inspired you to use your pumpkin this year for more than just decor!

Take a trip to your local pumpkin patch, or visit one of our favourite patches this season! Ontario pumpkins can be found at Knox Pumpkin Farm in Hampton, Petersburg’s Shantz Family Farm, Dundas’ Dyments Family Farm, Rounds Ranch in Elmvale and Kustermans in Mount Brydges.

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