Get the Most from Your Pumpkin
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Get the Most from Your Pumpkin

Posted on Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Pumpkin is related to other winter squashes.  You can eat it!  Here is how to get food from your pumpkin (and what to use it in).We tend to think of the pumpkins that we see in the grocery store as a fall decoration. Don’t forget that a pumpkin is actually food! It is related to some of the other winter squashes. This year, instead of just carving a pumpkin, why not consider eating it? Here are some ideas that will help you get the most from your pumpkin.

How to Use an Entire Pumpkin

Use fresh pumpkin instead of canned.
Food Network has an informative article by Alton Brown about how to make pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin is actually pureed pumpkin. The pumpkin puree that you make at home can be substituted for canned pumpkin in a recipe. You will need to start with a pumpkin that has not yet been carved.

In short, you need to cut your pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Remove the “goop” (the fiber and the seeds) with a spoon. Sprinkle the halves with kosher salt and put them, flesh side up, on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. You may need to cut some of the pumpkin skin off the back to make the halves sit nicely. Roast it for 30 to 45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let the pumpkin halves cool for one hour. Then, you can use a large spoon to remove the pumpkin flesh. Put it into a food processor to make it smooth. You now have fresh pumpkin puree!

What can you do with the pumpkin puree? Substitute it for the canned pumpkin in recipes for pumpkin pie, pumpkin biscuits, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin muffins. Freeze small individual portions of pumpkin puree and use them later as baby food or to put into a smoothie. Make some pumpkin soup.

Eat the pumpkin seeds.
Remove the pumpkin seeds from the fibers. The seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack. It is safe to eat pumpkin seeds shell and all. Or, you could crack open the shells and eat the nut meat by itself. Pumpkin seeds can be added to all kinds of things including: trail mix, muffins, pumpkin bread, and more.

Another option is to roast the pumpkin seeds. Leave the seeds in their shells if you plan on roasting them. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pumpkin seeds into a bowl and pour melted butter and salt over them. Next, put the seeds on a baking sheet. Bake them for 45 minutes (or until they turn a golden brown color).

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.