By Joanna Pappo, assistant gardener with Village Vancouver
Not sure what to do with your Halloween pumpkins? Here are a few practical ways you can recycle them:
Make pumpkin puree
Pumpkin puree is great for cooking and can be used in a variety of different dishes from pumpkin pie to pet food. To make a puree, cut the pumpkin in halves or quarters and scoop out the seeds and stringy parts. Bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Let it cool, remove the skin and put the pumpkin in a food processor to finish off the puree. It’s recommended to only cook pumpkins that have been kept indoors.
Make serving bowls
Another way to use pumpkins in your kitchen is to hollow them out and use them as a bowl to serve soup or other meals. To do this, simply cut the top off; scoop out the inside seeds and stringy bits; and bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 60 minutes. After it’s cooked, you can fill it with soup or your dish of choice.
Roast the seeds
If your pumpkin still has seeds in it, don’t throw them away! You can remove and roast them to eat as a snack. Check out this easy recipe for more on how to cook and season pumpkin seeds.
Make bird seed
Birds love pumpkin seeds, too! All you need to do is remove, rinse and dry the seeds before putting them in a feeder for our fine feathered friends to enjoy.
Save the seeds to plant
If your pumpkin is organic, you can save its dried seeds and use them to grow your own pumpkins next year. Check out this article on how to save seeds for gardening for more information.
Making a planter
To make a planter out of your pumpkin, cut off the top half to create a large opening. Once you’ve done this, fill the pumpkin with soil and plant whatever you like in it! When the pumpkin starts to get soft, you can plant the whole thing in the ground. It will break down in the soil and eventually feed your plant.
Put them in your compost pile
You can put any pumpkin scraps directly into a compost. Removing the seeds and cutting the pumpkin into smaller pieces is recommended.
Bury them in your garden
Similarly, if you have a garden, you can compost your pumpkin by cutting it into small pieces and then burying them deep underground to help them break down and add nutrients to your soil.
If all else fails, put them in your green bin!
Note: if you painted your pumpkin, first cut off the painted parts and put them in the garbage, then place the rest in your compost, green bin or garden.