Five Great Things To Do With That Jack O' Lantern On Nov. 1

Truly a woman after my own heart.
Truly a woman after my own heart.
ingernet @ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You bought the pumpkin, you carved it, the doorbell rang a hundred million times, and you gave out enough candy to fund an army of dentists for the next year.

Now it's the day after Halloween and the jack o' lantern is headed for the trash--or is it?

While it's true that most pumpkins of a size suitable for jack o' lanterns (jacks o' lantern?) are not bred for their flavor, all pumpkins are edible. Roasting the pumpkin usually helps concentrate whatever sugars are present and makes it tastier. Just please make sure you cut off any dripped wax from the candle, okay?

A bonus "Five Great..." list awaits you behind the jump:

Pepitas: Roasted pumpkin seeds. Make the kids rub the seeds off the sticky strings (tell them it's pumpkin brains), then toss them with a spoonful of oil and some salt and roast at 350°F for about half an hour, shaking occasionally. If you want to hull them, take a rubber mallet to them, sweep them into a bowl of water, and stir vigorously.

Pumpkin salad: Roast cubes of pumpkin in the oven until tender, then toss while warm with some cider vinaigrette, some dried cranberries, a strong leafy green like arugula, spinach or frisée and some toasted nuts (or pepitas, which you made in the last paragraph).

Pumpkin soup: Simmer roasted pumpkin in stock (chicken or vegetable, your choice) with a couple of chopped apples, a spoonful of curry powder, and some onions until it's all tender, then put it through the blender and heat slowly with a little bit of half-and-half.

Thai red curry: Cook a spoonful of red curry paste (available in cans at Asian markets) in a can of coconut milk, then add a cup of vegetable stock, two spoonfuls of fish sauce and two spoonfuls of sugar, then cubes of roasted pumpkin, cubes of pineapple and maybe some baked tofu. Finish with chopped basil and cilantro and serve with rice.

Weaponry: Unsuspecting teenager who stomped ketchup packets on your doorstep + trebuchet + gently-used pumpkin = instant comedy. (Kidding.)

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