Now that the fall holiday season is upon us, more of what your young family sees in parking lots and farmer’s markets is in the orange and green range — similar in color to the leaves falling off the trees. And when you drive down the streets of your neighborhood you see stemmed fruit of many sizes adorn doorsteps whole or with faces cut out of them. Of course, I’m talking about the versatile gourd known as the pumpkin.
What you may not know is pumpkins aren’t just for display, for before and after the last little trick-or-treaters pick up their candy, the pumpkin is a financial boon. Like money you invest in your 401(k) or mutual funds, a pumpkin can also be diversified into many different categories. Here are a few ways the numerous gourds on your porch can be divided out.
The Seeds – Too many times people discard the seeds of a pumpkin instead of re-purposing them. For example, you can rinse them off, place them on a baking pan, and roast them to make your own edible pumpkin seeds. And you don’t have to eat them plain — there are plenty of recipes at places like Simply Recipes that provide a variety of ways to prepare the seeds.
Another thing you can use the seeds for is to plant your own pumpkins for the next year. You don’t even need a large patch of land to do so, because the vines grow along the ground. Rinse the pulp away from them, pick out the largest seeds, dry them off, seal them in a plastic bag or envelope, and store them in a refrigerator or other dry, cool place until the spring planting season. Try to pick three times the amount of seeds you want to plant to allow for a proper grow cycle.
The Pulp – Thinking of baking a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? No need to purchase a can from the supermarket. All that’s needed is to remove the insides of the pumpkin to make a pie and many more items. What you do is remove the pulp and seeds from the pumpkin meat and boil two cups of it until the pieces are tender. You drain the chunks, remove the skin, and mash it up as you would potatoes. At this point you have the makings of pumpkin pie filling. There are also recipes at places like All Recipes that tell you how to make pumpkin puree and use it in a variety of meals.
The Skin – Lets say you want to cook up a pumpkin stew but down want to take the time to carve the chunks and boil them. Well, why don’t you make the stew within the pumpkin itself? Many folks don’t realize that the pumpkin is a natural cooking vessel as well as a bowl. Just remove the seeds and pulp, add the stew ingredients to the pumpkin and baste it with oil, and roast for two hours. In the end you get to scoop out the tender pumpkin as you grab some stew. You can find similar recipes at places like Food.com.