If you picked up a few pumpkins at your local farm stand or farmers markets to carve for Halloween, you know that soon enough you'll be elbow-deep in stringy, slimy pumpkin guts. Make this the year you use them for your next kitchen adventure.
First, pick the right pumpkin.
Guts from a pie or sugar pumpkins are ideal — they are sweeter and have more flavor than those extra-large jack-o'-lantern pumpkins you can pick up at the grocery store. Those pumpkins are grown to be carved and not really eaten. Although they are completely edible, the flesh tends to be grainy and watery.
1. Add it to vegetable stock.
Just like onion peels and carrot tops, the bit of pumpkin you usually throw out is an excellent contender for homemade stock. Store the guts, seeds and all, in a airtight container or bag in the freezer, along with any other veggie scraps you have, until you have a moment to make it. Then simply toss everything in a big pot with water, simmer, strain, and use the stock as a base for soups, stews, and more.
Get a recipe: How To Make Vegetable Stock
2. Bake a loaf of pumpkin bread.
Pumpkin flesh can be used as pumpkin purée to make your favorite pumpkin bread or muffins. Just be sure you've separated them from the seeds before chopping them up as finely as you can or blending them in a food processor or blender. Then go ahead and use the same amount of pumpkin guts as pumpkin purée called for in your favorite recipe.
Get a recipe: Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl
3. Make pumpkin juice.
Concentrate the flavor of those guts by making pumpkin juice. Place the stringy bits and seeds in a bowl and then pour boiling water over them to help soften the fibrous strings. Use a fork to mash up the guts and then strain the mixture so that you're left with a bright orange liquid that you can add to smoothies, sauces, soups, or even better, use it in place of some of the stock for a fall risotto.
Get a recipe: How To Make Risotto