Halloween is around the corner and that means you may have had a pumpkin growing in your garden for the last few months or decorating your stoop for the last few weeks. Here are a few creative ideas to utilize your harvest or reuse your decorative squash.
1. Go for the tried and true and transform your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern! Get in the holiday spirit and enjoy a fun family-friendly activity by carving your pumpkin into your favourite Halloween theme, cartoon character, or stick to the classic and create a scary face! Make a night of it and set up a fun competition with friends to see whose design will win!
2. While you are carving your pumpkin make sure to set aside those pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds make for a wonderful snack once seasoned and baked. Get inspired with the spice mix, try out chilli powder, paprika, garlic powder, or add one of your favourite dip packets to the mix. Make sure to wash and dry your seeds before adding spice and enjoy! Pumpkin seeds make for a great snack and are packed full of flavour and nutrition. You can also keep it simple and skip the seasoning. Just bake the plain seeds and add them to your bird feeder or sprinkle them outside to support your local wildlife.
3. Roast your pumpkin and boost your nutrition this winter! Pumpkin is a very nutritious food and can be even more potent when combined with other winter crops. When creating your garden, consider planting winter squash in a trio of pumpkin, corn, and climbing beans known as the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a companion planting strategy that is part of Indigenous culture and tradition in North America. Not only do these plants grow well together, but they also create a complete protein when eaten together.
4. Breaking down your pumpkin and roasting the flesh is a great way to utilize your harvest and is a wonderful base for a variety of recipes. Once you’ve roasted your pumpkin, the opportunities are endless! You can include roast pumpkin as a side or add it to soups, salads, and sauces. Or turn it into a puree to enhance cookies, bread, pies and cakes.
5. If all else fails, compost is a wonderful option! Dispose of your pumpkins in your green waste bin or compost bin. Many cities host pumpkin recycling events so you can be sure your pumpkin goes to a good cause.
Now that harvest is over and holiday festivities have begun, its the perfect time to start dreaming up next year’s garden! Don’t forget to include pumpkin and other squash in your springtime planting, and give the Three Sisters companion planting a try!