Five Healthy things to do with your Halloween Pumpkin!

NUTRITION logo copySo halloween is just around the corner & no doubt your kids, or maybe you are planning on carving up a scary pumpkin to put in the window for all those sweet & innocent trick or treaters.

I remember carving out the pumpkin when I was a kid, making a right mess of the kitchen and binning all that juicy fruit from inside straight away.

But, surely you can put this to good use, right?

Here are my top FIVE things to do with your pumpkin guts and carvings.

  1. ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS – Simply preheat oven to 150 degrees C.Toss all of the seeds in a bowl with some melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally. Nibble and enjoy whilst your trick or treater come knocking
  2. USE THE GUTS – The guts are the stringy pieces that surround the seeds of your pumpkin, and they can be one of the most difficult parts to use. We suggest using these icky innards to make some pumpkin stock.Separate the seeds from the guts, and set them aside to roast later. Place your guts in a pot filled with water and boil. You can add other unwanted vegetable pieces, such as celery tips or carrot tops, to add more flavor. Boil for about 30 minutes, or until the water begins to change color. Strain your stock, reserving the broth and setting your guts and vegetable pieces aside to be composted.Pumpkin stock is perfect for adding flavor to soups or casseroles, and you can freeze any extra for later use.
  3. PUMPKIN PERFECTION – Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, which makes pumpkin purée healthy for your body if you eat it and healthy to apply to the skin. That’s why one of the prettiest uses for the pumpkin is for a make it at home face mask.Start with about five teaspoons of pumpkin purée, add three teaspoons of brown sugar – which will naturally exfoliate your skin – and a tiny splash of milk.Mix it all together, and apply to your face in circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Relax for up to 20 minutes and allow all that pumpkin goodness to seep into your skin. Bonus: it smells yummy, too!
  4. MAKE A PUMPKIN COFFEE – Ingredients: Milk (2% recommended), coffee, pumpkin pie spice mixture (or mix your own cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg blend), maple syrup, pumpkin, vanilla extract.1) Measure and pour milk into saucepan on your stove (latte: one espresso shot will need 3/4 cup milk; café au lait: will need approximately ½ cup milk for a 2:1 coffee/milk ratio)

    2) Add in 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup and 1 teaspoon pumpkin puree. Stir well.

    3) Heat the mixture on medium/hot heat, stirring occasionally.

    4) Meanwhile, brew coffee or espresso.

    5) Remove milk from stovetop once it is hot and use a milk frother to froth it. The mixture should double in size and create a nice foam.

    6) Once milk is frothed, combine in a mug with espresso or coffee. Garnish with pumpkin pie spice. Optional: add a cinnamon stick, or drizzle with a bit of maple pumpkin butter.

  5. PUMPKIN LASAGNE – Try making a traditional dish into a seasonal dish using the pumpkin flesh, you can slice the flesh to replace the pasta sheets or add the pumpkin fruit into the meat mixture. Play with the idea.
  6. PUMPKIN SKIN CHIPS – If you really want NO waste, then dry out the pumpkin skin in the oven or a dehydrator if you have one and use them as snacks or garnishes for other meals.

For something totally different, why not try one of these bonus ideas:

  1. MAKE A PUMPKIN PLANTER – Once you have finished with your Halloween Lantern Pumpkin head & have stopped out any left over flesh, you can add a little natural beauty to your garden by using it as a planter. Simply chuck in some potting soil, add a pretty little plant and then top up with soil. Leave it out in the garden or on your doorstep… but pick your plant wisely as its getting cold out there!
  2. MAKE A PUMPKIN BIRD FEEDER – Don’t forget about the little tweety pies outside, after all it is getting cold and the weather is miserable, so why not give something back to nature and feed your neighborhood birds with the Martha Stewart’s pumpkin bird feeder Personally I think this is an awesome idea!!! And I will probably do this!

There really is no need to waste any of your pumpkin, and hopefully some of these suggestions will have inspired you to try something a little new this year, rather than just leaving Mr Pumpkin in the garden waste bin.

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