November 01, 2022
We're all aware of making the most of things before we need to trash them, and I thought I was doing pretty good, but there is always so much to learn.
I try not to feel guilty about what I wasn't doing, rather I try to be happy to learn new things and put them into action.
In the past after Halloween, I would simply compost our jack o'lanterns and felt pretty good about it.
Until I really thought about it and saw reminders on social media about how long it takes a pumpkin to grow (140 days!!) and that 85% of pumpkins harvested are sent to the landfills uneaten (stats via @hollyrose.eco on Instagram).
This gave me pause, and I decided I could easily reuse our jack o'lanterns rather than just composting. After all, I really get a kick out of using something more or in a different way than I have in the past.
So I did a bit of research and just got to work. It was really easy.
One had started to rot, so that one will be bound for the compost pile, but one was just fine. I brought that jack o'lantern inside,, gave it a good wash and cut it into large strips or chunks.
Roast it in a 425 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until they were easily pierced with a fork.
Next I pureed them in our Vitamix. Any high speed blender or food processor would work.
I read that pumpkins used for jack o'lanterns contain a lot of water, so pumpkin puree from them isn't the same as the thicker pumpkin puree you find in the grocery store. You need to let it sit in cheesecloth in a strainer and let most of the water strain away. My research said a few hours should do it.
There is a of water that comes out, they weren't joking!
And Voila! Perfectly delicious, nutritious and essentially free food that you can use in baking, soups or freeze for later.
It was a pretty easy thing to do, but of course it took time, and much more than buying from your grocery store.
But that's the thing, you do what you can, when you can, learn a little more each day, and share what you've learned in hopes that others will be inspired as well.
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