From pumpkin spice lattes to harvest-themed entrance porches, pumpkins are an iconic staple for the fall. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service consultants have some recommendations on the way to use these standard gourds in and round your own home.
Odessa Keenan, AgriLife Extension program coordinator for the company’s Dinner Tonight initiative, Bryan-Faculty Station, mentioned pumpkins are an extremely standard merchandise not solely for fall décor however as a key ingredient in lots of seasonal recipes.
Household-friendly pumpkin recipes
Pumpkin puree is a straightforward technique to make the most of the pulp inside, she mentioned. Puree can be utilized to make candy treats like pies, parfaits and cookies or savory snacks like hummus.
“If you remove the seeds and pulp to cook, they should be immediately refrigerated or prepared to avoid potential food safety issues,” she famous. “Once you carve a pumpkin and leave the pulp out for more than a couple of hours, you can assume it’s not good to eat.”
The puree needs to be saved within the fridge and can probably final round 4 days earlier than spoiling, she mentioned.
“The shelf life of the pumpkin puree depends on how fresh it was from the vine when you purchased it, its current condition and any potential for bacterial exposure,” she mentioned. “Canning the puree correctly can extend its shelf life up to four months.”
Cooking and roasting pumpkin seeds
Keenan mentioned pumpkin seeds also can make a easy and wholesome seasonal deal with.
“Roasting pumpkin seeds for snacking is another fun way to use your pumpkin,” she mentioned. “You can experiment with different spice blends – savory, spicy and sweet – to find your family’s favorite. Just be sure to watch for too much added sodium or sugar.”
She mentioned use a big spoon or ice cream scoop to take away the pulp, then separate the seeds. Put the seeds in a colander and wash them totally to take away any extra pulp.
“It’s fine if there’s still a little of the pumpkin flesh on the seeds,” Keenan mentioned.
Dry the seeds as a lot as doable in between paper towels or a material, then toss them in a bowl with cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg or any most well-liked seasoning. Unfold the seeds evenly on a evenly greased cookie sheet and prepare dinner at 350 levels for about 12 to fifteen minutes. Toss the seeds a number of instances throughout cooking to assist guarantee they brown evenly. The roasted seeds are prepared once they flip a golden brown.
Creative pumpkin-themed dwelling decor
Along with the timeliness of a Halloween jack-o’-lantern and the newest stencil carving, Keenan affords some further décor concepts.
“Pumpkins make fantastic front porch decorations as well as great fall table arrangements,” she mentioned. “I have also seen pumpkins used to hold flower arrangements!”
To make use of a pumpkin to carry your flowers, she advises that it’s best to carve out simply sufficient of the pumpkin to carry a vase. Organize and water the flowers contained in the vase to cut back the moisture stage contained in the pumpkin and maintain some area between the pumpkin and the association.
Composting and disposing of a pumpkin
When the pumpkin does in the end decay, the leftover natural matter makes a terrific compost pile addition, mentioned Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Dallas.
“It’s best to either blend it or let it dry to break the rinds up into as small of pieces as possible,” he mentioned. “The smaller the pieces, then the faster it will break down. You need to break the seeds down as well, otherwise some may germinate in your compost pile.”
(Photograph by Shelley E. Huguley)
Masabni mentioned pumpkin seeds can be saved to plant by laying them out flat to air dry on paper towels for about 24 hours. As soon as dry, place them in a plastic bag or retailer them within the fridge or a cool, dry place.
“Don’t heat dry them in an oven or in the sun because it could cause damage,” he mentioned. “And mark the bag with the pumpkin variety and date.”
Masabni mentioned if saved accurately, pumpkin seeds can final for at the least 5 years.
Pumpkin for the birds
“Pumpkins that have been used as jack-o’-lanterns or other decorations could also be used as a snack for wildlife,” mentioned Maureen Frank, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Uvalde.
“If you bake pumpkin seeds, you can place them in a bird feeder and share them with your feathered friends,” Frank mentioned. “Be sure not to add salt or any other seasoning – just use the plain seeds.”
Frank mentioned the pumpkin itself can be utilized as a chook feeder and advised following instructions from the Audubon organization.
“Other animals, such as squirrels, raccoons and deer, may be interested in pumpkin pieces, but feeding these mammals can create problems and may be against local ordinances, so it’s probably best to share with birds only,” she mentioned.
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