What can I do with an un-carved pumpkin?
November 3, 2013 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Halloween has come and gone, and whoops--we forgot to carve the pumpkin. What can we do with an uncarved jack-o-lantern style pumpkin?

If I understand correctly, the big pumpkins are subpar for making pies. What else can we do with it? It seems like a waste to just toss it in the trash, but I don't want it to turn into a moldy puddle of pumpkin goo in the pantry either.
posted by wondercow to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whatever you do with the other bits, definitely roast the seeds.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can use it for any pumpkin or winter squash recipe - it may be a bit less flavorful, but a little extra seasoning will take care of that. Maybe something like muffins or bread?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:43 AM on November 3, 2013

Use it for Thanksgiving decoration. You can make a turkey!
posted by raisingsand at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Roast it. Make soup. Roast it and then make soup. Pumpkin bread/scones. We use big pumpkins in Australia all the time as a vegetable, and while the Jack o Lantern ones are bred for carving not flavour they cook up fine if a little plain. I stock up on cheap pumpkins after Halloween as they keep for ages and I love pumpkin soup.

Roast it with the skin on, peeling off cooked skin is way easier, puree the peel chunks it with some chicken stock add ginger and whatever you like to taste and instant soup. Sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds. Freezes well, is nice with a dob of cream/sourcream/coconut milk on and lots of black pepper.
posted by wwax at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you know anyone with chickens, they love it. Or any livestock really. Also a zoo might take it. There's a living history farm near us that always takes leftover pumpkins to feed their heritage pigs.
posted by auntie maim at 10:57 AM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let it turn into a moldy puddle of pumpkin goo in some unused corner of your yard (or your compost pile if you have one). That's how we ended up growing our own pumpkins this year. Benign neglect FTW!
posted by headnsouth at 11:10 AM on November 3, 2013 [11 favorites]

Bake this tasty, rich and fat-free pumpkin cake.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:28 AM on November 3, 2013

If fireworks are legal in your jurisdiction...
posted by domnit at 11:32 AM on November 3, 2013

Pie... unless you happen to have easy access to a tr├ębuchet.
posted by sammyo at 11:33 AM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Why not carve it anyway? You'll have the only fresh jack-o-lantern on the block!
posted by jpeacock at 11:34 AM on November 3, 2013

Fry onions until soft, add cubed bacon, fry until starting to brown slightly, add cubed pumpkin, cook until pumpkin soft, stir through pasta (for best results, gnocci) salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle the top with parmesan. Delicious!

Or tonight we did: fry onions, add chilli, add dried sage, add cubed pumpkin, fry a little, add a load of chicken or veg stock, cook until pumpkin tender then puree. Meanwhile, fry chorizo sausage (cubed) and a bit of garlic until slightly browned, add to the soup along with the oil from the chorizo. Eat.

And enjoy, because it's a pain getting pumpkin after halloween around here.
posted by kadia_a at 12:19 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Regardless of the *intensity* of flavor, they work fine in any other squash recipe. They don't taste bad at all, just slightly blander.

Also, my experience has been that some of the "blandness" is due to the truly staggering moisture content. I roasted one poor roadkill pumpkin last year, and the roasting pan was like an inch-deep in fluid after an hour. Inch. Deep.

If you roast it, and drain off the flavorful excess liquid, the pulp freezes quite well. The nicely maillarded fluid could also be frozen, probably, but that's the tastiest part...
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 12:38 PM on November 3, 2013

Pumpkin gnocchi. I use a brown butter with sage leaves sauce and Parmesan cheese. Sometimes, instead of boiling the gnocchi, I sautee them directly in butter until done.
posted by francesca too at 12:47 PM on November 3, 2013

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat it. Eat it alllllllllllllllllllll.

Cut it up into chunks, rub it down with sunflower oil, and roast it in the oven until it's soft and squishy (around an hour or so).

Mash it up, get some cheesecloth and drain it until it's nice and mushy, then use it for bread, cookies, croquettes, pie, soup, everything.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:50 PM on November 3, 2013

Having followed Katemonkey's suggestion, you can also turn it into tasty korma sauce.
posted by emilyw at 1:11 PM on November 3, 2013

Nthing the "eat it anyway" option. It may not be optimum for pies, but it'd probably still be good for soups or other "winter squash" recipes, because it basically is a kind of winter squash.

If you think you'd get sick of pumpkin fast, you could either roast or steam it, then dole the puree out into one-cup containers and freeze it for future use (in bread, cookies, soup, etc.).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:04 PM on November 3, 2013

Pumpkin is also a magical digestive aid for dogs, helping with both constipation and diarrhea.

So if carving pumpkins aren't flavorful enough for human consumption, you still might want some around later for either your own dogs or other dogs you know. (Plain canned pumpkin can get scarce and/or crazy expensive off-season.)
posted by ernielundquist at 2:51 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can totally eat it. I used to roast and puree a pumpkin every October and use it for pumpkin bread, pie, cheesecake, etc.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:03 PM on November 3, 2013

Paint them in fall colors, spraypaint gold, or even glitter them (depending on your tolerance for glitter!). Martha Stewart - Glittered Pumpkins.
posted by belau at 4:51 AM on November 4, 2013

Thanksgiving is coming. You can cook it and use the pulp for soup or pies. This kind of pumpkin is not very flavorful, but (in my opinion) a lame pumpkin pie is still several levels better than any other pie.

Or if you don't plan on eating it: carve out the seeds and center goop and use it as a serving bowl, flower vase or candle holder.
posted by BearClaw6 at 5:55 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

wondercow: "
If I understand correctly, the big pumpkins are subpar for making pies.

Not nearly as true as the oft-repeated cookbook advice claims. Like a huge amount cooking advice dating before the advent of modern test kitchens (in the last couple decades, basically), that general statement is stupidly wrong, and always repeated without actual knowledge behind it.

Go google "best-tasting squash", for instance, and a ton of sites will tell you butternut are the best, and turban squash are best used as decorations. IME, guests always prefer the turbans to the bland butternuts.

But in most pumpkin recipes, there's a ton of spice, and you're unlikely to notice such a difference.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:52 PM on November 4, 2013

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