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What To Do With Leftover Pumpkins

Nov 01, 2023 04:08PM ● By Aimee Vollmann

Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is approaching, which means many pumpkins will be used for jack-o-lanterns and other decorations. So, what can one do with these leftover pumpkins aside from letting them rot away on the porch or patio? Look no further; here are five different ways to reuse your pumpkins.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be seasoned in any way you would like. Here is a basic recipe for garlic-roasted pumpkin seeds.

The first step for any roasted pumpkin seed recipe is to wash and remove as much pulp from the seeds as possible and to thoroughly dry them. Next, toss the seeds in a bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. Then separate and spread the seeds evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet. Put the seeds in the oven and bake at 350ºF for about 12 to 15 minutes, tossing the seeds every 5 minutes to get even browning. When the seeds are a golden-brown color, they are ready. The ingredients are as follows:

  • ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Again, you can put any seasoning you want on pumpkin seeds. Roasted seeds are great for snacking and to put on salads. Seeds can also be kept to plant and grow new pumpkins for next year!

Whole Pumpkins

Whole pumpkins can be used as a cooking vessel for foods such as soups and stews, can be filled with snack items such as veggies, fruits, nuts, or others, or can be used as a serving bowl and filled with dips, spreads, or even punch! 

Pumpkin Pulp

Pumpkin pulp is the inside ‘meat’ of the pumpkin, which is used to make pumpkin puree. With pumpkin puree, many delicious foods can be cooked up.

To make the puree, clean the guts and seeds out of the pumpkin until it is largely free of them. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 ºF oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how large your pumpkin is. When it is done, the pumpkin should be tender enough to pierce a fork through. Peel the skin from the pumpkin and put the pulp in a food processor or blender, adding a few chunks at a time. Pulse until smooth; if dry, you can add in a few tablespoons of water while pulsing. The puree can be used immediately or stored in the freezer for later use. Here are a couple of recipes that can be made with pumpkin puree.

Creamy Pumpkin Hummus – Taste of Home

  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive or pumpkin seed oil
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with oil and pumpkin seeds if desired. Serve with pita chips.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars – NYT Cooking


  • 10 ½ ounces gingersnap cookies (preferably the thin Swedish variety)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted


  • 1½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup grams granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 can pumpkin purée

1. Step 1

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

2. Step 2

Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the cookies until they form fine crumbs (you will have about 2½ cups of crumbs). Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and mix until evenly incorporated. Press the crust into an even layer in the base of the prepared pan.

3. Step 3

Bake until the crust has browned slightly and appears set 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

4. Step 4

Make the filling: Wipe out the bowl of the food processor and place the cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar inside. Pulse until the mixture is fully combined. Add the eggs one at a time and pulse until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl as needed.

5. Step 5

Add the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and pulse until combined. If desired, reserve 1 cup of the cheesecake batter in a small bowl to make a swirl effect later.

6.  Step 6

Add the pumpkin to the remaining cheesecake batter and pulse until fully incorporated. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake into the cooled crust. If using, slowly pour the reserved white cheesecake batter over the pumpkin cheesecake batter in a slow, thin stream, and use a toothpick or wooden skewer to swirl the two batters together. (If you pour too quickly, the white batter will sink inside the pumpkin.)

7.      Step 7

Bake the cheesecake until the edges appear set and the center still appears slightly jiggly, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, then refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours, up to overnight). Use a sharp knife to release the edges and use the parchment paper to carefully lift the cheesecake from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Slice into 15 even pieces, wiping the knife between cuts for the cleanest edges.

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