A real gourd time: How to utilize every part of a pumpkin

Lana Hwang, Accent Editor

The pumpkin, a fall menu staple, is present everywhere from beverages to side dishes. Its popularity cannot be denied, but something you might not know about this fruit is that every single part of it can be used in a delightfully delicious way.

Skin: At this point, jack-o’-lantern season is long gone, so why not make a nice snack out of your pumpkin skin? Peel the washed skin off of your pumpkin with a vegetable peeler and toss in a generous amount of oil. Roast for 30 minutes in a 400°F oven, then sprinkle salt and pepper over the skin for crispy and somewhat healthy chips. 

Meat: Arguably the most versatile part of the pumpkin, you can use this to make healthy(er) fries, cubes for a side dish, or pumpkin puree for pies and desserts. For the fries and cubes, slice them into their respective shapes and coat in oil, salt and pepper, then cook in oil or bake in the oven. For the pumpkin puree, pat your slices dry and place in an oven at 400°F for 40-60 minutes. Then blend room-temperature pieces in your blender or food processor until smooth (you may have to do multiple batches of this depending on the size of your pumpkin pieces). You can store this puree in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months.

Innards: Surprisingly, you can even use the stringy guts of the pumpkin for a hearty vegetarian broth. After separating from the seeds, bring the innards with plenty of water to a boil and strain. Add celery, carrots and other vegetables to make soup, or go the sweet route and combine the broth with apple or orange juice and spices for a unique pumpkin spice drink.

Seeds: After separating seeds from the innards, simmer these in saltwater for 10 minutes and bake until brown, tossing in whatever seasoning you like afterwards. These seeds are not only rich in zinc, but also contain antioxidants that can give your health a little needed boost during the greatly unhealthy holiday diet season.

Stalk: You can compost this part of the pumpkin along with any other leftover parts of the pumpkin that have accumulated since going through these recipes.