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Once the trick or treaters have been and gone, you’ll have to clear away those pumpkins on the porch and start building your 5th November bonfire. With these ideas, you won’t have to let old Jack go to waste- or any of your other favourite root vegetables for that matter!

Pickling the rind

Have you ever tried pickled pumpkin rind? Any pickle lover will tell you it is delicious. You can pickle the rind of a very recently carved pumpkin – one that shows no signs of rot or mould – or you can save the pieces that you carved, like the eyes or nose that you no longer need.

To pickle the rind: 

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer orange skin of the pumpkin. 
  2. Cut the rind – this will be an inch-thick section right under the skin – into 2-inch squares. 
  3. For each pound of pumpkin, use 2½ cup of sugar, 2 cups white vinegar and a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger. A cinnamon stick is good, too.
  4. Put the sugar, vinegar and spices in a large pot.
  5. Bring to a boil, add the pumpkin, and cook until the pumpkin is tender. 
  6. Chill overnight before serving.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

The first thing you will do with your pumpkin, whether you’re carving or cooking, is scoop out the seeds. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre, so it would be a shame to throw them away.

To roast and eat, simply clean the seeds, boil for 10 mins to soften, then drain and dry on kitchen paper. Toss with a little oil, and, if you want to add a bit of flavour, sprinkle over some salt, pepper, paprika, or whatever takes your fancy. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet and roast in a low oven for around 45 mins or until they are crisp and golden.

Make a pumpkins purée

Whenever you wonder what to do with Halloween pumpkin, purée should be your first thought. You can go two ways here. The first option is to use the flesh of the pumpkin to make a plain purée. The second option is to add seasoning of choice if you plan to use the puree for cooking. To make the purée, you will need to roast the squash for about 45-60 minutes. Then, remove the skin and mash the guts, no seeds. Once prepared, pumpkin purée can last for nearly a week in your refrigerator.

Create compost

Pumpkins make a great addition to your compost pile. Because they’re mostly water, they decompose quickly, but it’ll go even faster if you break them apart first. 

Turn pumpkin smashing into a fun family activity – you probably won’t have to look far to find willing participants. Pumpkin composting is pretty simple. Just remember to remove the seeds first so your gourds don’t root in the pile. 

If you’d like, you can save them to try your hand at growing your own pumpkin crop. Just rinse the pulp away and allow the seeds to dry. Store them in an envelope in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to plant.

Pumpkin stamps

Shaped biscuit cutters help transform pumpkins into easy-to-use stamps for little ones. Adults will need to make the stamps as a knife is required, but this simple project won’t take long. Cut out a piece of pumpkin to use. Press your chosen cutter firmly into the flesh side of the pumpkin. Carefully use the knife to cut into the pumpkin and and around the cutter to create a stamp. Remove the cutter from the pumpkin and your stamp is now ready to use.

Make a planter or bird feeder

Pumpkins that have been left outside can’t then be cooked. For these leftover gourds, a makeshift planter or bird feeder can be a great way to give back to nature. The pumpkin will decompose naturally and contribute to the seeds’ growth, providing them with nutritious food

To make a planter:

  1. Take your carved pumpkin, line with newspaper and pack some soil tightly into it. 
  2. Plant whatever seeds you would like into the soil (we recommend using early flowering annuals.)
  3.  You can leave the whole thing out as decoration for a few more  weeks, or you can plant the whole thing in the ground in the front or back garden..

To make a feeder: 

  1. Cut your carved pumpkin in half to create a wide bowl with the bottom half.
  2. Cut a groove around the rim of your pumpkin bowl and stick pumpkin seeds upright all the way around for decoration. 
  3. Fill with your preferred bird seed and then hang by threading strong garden twine through holes in the sides. (You might need to line with newspaper to prevent seeds falling out where you carved in your face.)

Leftover pumpkin recipes

Pumpkin soup

This flavour-packed soup stars the Cook with M&S honey and pumpkin spice glaze and the new pumpkin bloomer.

Get the recipe >

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

Stuffed full of cheese and all the baked pumpkin chunks that make for a dreamy twist on this traditional pasta bake.

Get the recipe >

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