How to Use Leftover Halloween Pumpkins

Heading into November, most of us have at least one pumpkin sitting forlornly on the porch. If you left it whole, and the weather has been cool like it has here, you might still be able to salvage it. If you’re wondering what to do with a bunch of pumpkin, don’t worry! I have a recipe and a couple of suggestions that will have you singing pumpkiny praises for months to come!

I’m all for eliminating as much food waste as possible. We throw out 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year, according to┬áthe Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. So much of what is tossed can be reused, and diverting from the landfill isn’t the only reason. Efficiently using all the food you buy can have a big impact on your budget, and your health if the food you are using falls into the category of fruits and veggies!

Back to Halloween, we bought two medium sized pumpkins (for a whopping $5) and put them out, whole, on our porch. Last week the temperatures were about to dip below 0 celsius, so I figured it was time to bring them in and deal with them!

I cut the top open first, and had Alex help me dig the seeds and pumpkin guts out. He was interested for about 3 minutes, and then went off to play with a spatula (#toddlers). Once the seeds were out, it didn’t take long to chop the pumpkins up into approx 4×4″ chunks, skin and all. I pulled out my turkey roasting pan and lid, poured in about 3 cups of water, and filled it up with pumpkin chunks.

After the pumpkin pieces had roasted at about 375 degrees celsius for about 45 minutes, the pumpkin flesh was soft and ready to use! I scooped out about half of what I had roasted into my food processor, and blended it into a smooth puree. For the other half, I peeled off the skin and chopped the pumpkin into 1″ chunks.

At this point, I had A LOT of pumpkin. I plopped spoonfuls of the puree (about 1/2 cup per plop) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This filled two cookie sheets. I had 3 cups of puree left, which I set aside to be turned into soup. With the chopped pumpkin, I lined half up on a third parchment-lined cookie sheet, and put the rest in the fridge, with plans to make a pumpkin curry stirfry later this week. Once frozen, this all went into zippered freezer bags.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know I ended up with about 12 cups of pumpkin. Canned pumpkin runs about $1.75 per cup in the grocery store, so I’m saving approx. $21! Not to mention that I got about 1 cup of pumpkin seeds out of the deal too, so another $5 worth or so!

So, I promised you a recipe, yes? Let’s get into it:

Curried Pumpkin and Lentil Soup
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp curry spice I love Arvinda's Curry Masala
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, saute the onions in coconut oil, over medium heat until softened (approx 5 min).
  2. Add spices, garlic and ginger to the pot, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn (1 min).
  3. Add pureed pumpkin, broth, and lentils. Bring to a simmer and put a lid on the pot.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Recipe Notes

You can puree the soup so it is completely smooth if you like, but I like it as it is - it's slightly chunky and textured, and a lot more interesting!

 

You might be wondering what I have planned for my “plops” of frozen pumpkin? Pumpkin is so versatile that I didn’t want to be restricted to using large amounts at any one time. By freezing in small amounts, I can pull out only as much as I need at any given time. I’ll be using this pumpkin in smoothies, muffins, pancakes, breakfast cookies, soups, and pasta sauces over the next few months. The chopped pumpkin will likely be used for curries (’cause this family loves some bold Indian spices!).

 

The Nutrition Scoop

Pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, manganese, the phytonutrient carotene and they are full of healthy fibre. This gives us a ton of antioxidants, which help prevent cancer, heart disease and many degenerative signs of aging.

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