5 Uses for excess pumpkins
There are times of the year when pumpkins are plentiful. You have grown your own, the local farmer is selling them cheap, friends are giving them away or you go a bit crazy at Halloween. There are several areas where you can use the excess pumpkins to avoid waste.
- Animal feed
- Seed use
Pumpkins store for a long time and make a great emergency food when things get scarce.
Cooking with excess pumpkins
Pumpkins and winter squash can be used as savoury or sweet ingredients in a wide variety of foods.
- Baking – bread, muffins, pancakes, scones, cakes
- Sauces – as a base with tomato, apple, berries, chocolate, chilli, curry and more
- Puree – mash, soup, baby food, drinks
- Vegetable – roast, stews, curries, mash
- Bases – Pasta, sauces, pizzas, salads
- Desserts – pie, mixed with fruit in baking
- Odd stuff – there are a range of recipes on the web like Spiced pumpkin latte
- Substitute with sweet potato, they have similar properties and are interchangeable.
Cooking with pumpkin can add sweetness and moisture to a dish.
The ideal conditions for storing excess pumpkins for 6 months or more are-
- 10 -12 degrees Celsius (50-55 degrees F)
- 50 – 70% humidity
- Dark area
- Stored on their side to prevent moisture gathering in the depression
- With full air on all sides (wire shelving, pumpkins not touching each other)
- Leave the stem on the pumpkin to prevent diseases from entering the top of the fruit
- Away from rodents and animals which will eat them.
Winter squash is not as sweet as pumpkins but is meant to store better than pumpkins. It comes down to the climate conditions and variety. Pumpkins like the Queensland Blue and Jarrahdale can be stored for a long time.
Check them regularly to see if there are any signs of rot, mould, or animal attack.
Don’t have the space or conditions to store pumpkins long term, you can preserve them.
- Excess pumpkins can be roasted and pureed before –
- Freezing in sealed bags
- Mixing with fruits and used in cooking
- Mix with fruit puree and dehydrate to fruit leathers (roll-ups)
Cook the excess pumpkin and blend it into a puree, letting it cool down. Then dehydrated to crispy and ground into a powder in a processor or coffee grinder.
The powder can be stored in airtight contains in a cool, dark area and can be turned back into a puree with hot water, instant pumpkin mash powder or soup. This can be done with a range of fruits and vegetables and have some fun experimenting.
The powder can be used in most cooking recipes.
You can flavour the pumpkin during the roasting process to add flavour to the powder. Just clearly label your experiments so you don’t put coriander pumpkin powder in your chocolate cake.
Most livestock love eating a smashed pumpkin as it contains a wide range of nutritious prebiotics, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Cows, horses, pigs, goats and poultry will eat the whole pumpkin, skins, flesh and seeds. Even dogs can eat them if shelled and roasted first.
Pumpkins don’t cover all of the dietary needs of animals but they are a healthy treat.
To make it easier for them to access the inside smash the pumpkin first as some pumpkin skins are hard to get into.
Pumpkin Seed use
You buy a pumpkin from the shop, cut off the skin and scoop out the seeds throwing both in the bin before cooking the flesh. The skin and seeds are edible by humans and livestock.
Pumpkin seeds contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and oils.
For humans and dogs, seeds are usually prepared by taking the white outer shell off the seed and roasting them. Store in a cool dark place as they can go rancid quickly as they contain oil.
Livestock can eat the seed whole and for chickens best to chop the seed up to make it smaller to eat.
And then there is saving the best-looking seed to grow the next batch of pumpkins.
Pumpkins are easy to grow if you have the space and are cheap to buy at certain times of the year. Excess pumpkins can be stored or preserved for use throughout the year in a wide range of dishes both sweet and savoury.
The skin, flesh and seeds are edible and can be fed to humans and dogs if prepared properly. They can also be fed to livestock and poultry.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Incorporating Cull Pumpkins into Livestock Diets