1235 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL •  850.942.2557

Let's Get Spooky...and Sustainable

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Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to have a monopoly on the holiday season. It makes sense. Gathering together with loved ones while celebrating over food and libations is certainly something to look forward to.

With that said, for some, the holiday season begins when the first pumpkin-shaped candy appears on store shelves and plastic spiders are spotted dancing on faux webs as they cascade down and around beams and stairwells. Halloween is as unique as it is riveting, and the traditions surrounding it are equally so. While there are a bounty of activities that fans of this spooky holiday enjoy, one literally puts the pumpkin in pumpkin pie: pumpkin carving.

The Jack-Of-All-Trades-O’-Lantern

It’s Sunday night. You’ve just spent the day perusing your local pumpkin patch for the perfect orange seed-filled sphere. You and your family have pored over countless designs and have finally decided on what will be the best carved pumpkin that has ever adorned your front porch. Your pour yourself a glass of wine from your local vineyard and brace yourself for the mess you’re about to create. It isn’t Halloween if you aren’t elbow-deep in pumpkin guts, after all. You remove the innards so you have a clean and easy template to carve into.

Finally, you’re done. The flame atop the candle that inhabits your now hollow, glorified squash seems to almost dance to what may very well be the beat of Monster Mash; shadows haunt your walls as light pours out of the strategically cut holes on the surface of your pumpkin. You are an artist, a revolutionary. Step aside Michelangelo.
 

But wait…

Out of the corner of your eye, you notice a stringy pile of pumpkin insides; a mountain of mush, if you will. You could throw it all away, but you remember reading an article from your local co-op about how to use your entire pumpkin as a way to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. This article broke the pumpkin down into three sections:

1. The Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are delicious and, as an added bonus, pretty darn nutritious (with flu season right around the corner, we could all use some zinc). The process of roasting seeds isn’t incredibly daunting. First, you have to clean those bad boys. Picking off the stringy pulp may take a minute; as they say, patience is a virtue. Then, boil the seeds in a pot with 1 teaspoon of salt. One the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to low-medium and allow the seeds to simmer for 10 minutes . This will allow for a crispier shell post-roast. Pre-heat your oven to 325F. Drain them, dry them, and stick them onto a baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil and the seasoning of your choice (nix the olive oil and toss them in butter, sugar, salt, and cinnamon for a deliciously sweet treat). Once your oven is at the correct temperature, toss your baking sheet inside (don’t actually toss it…oil-coated pumpkin seeds are a pain to pick up) and let your oven do its thing for 10 minutes. Stir the seeds around and then roast them for an additional 8-10 minutes. If they’re really crispy and easy to bite into, you have yourself a baking sheet full of tiny, little oval-shaped winners. Go you.

2. The Guts

“It’s stringy and I hate it.” - Most people

“I kind of want to eat this…” - You after reading this section

The innards and seeds go hand-in-hand. After you’ve plopped your seeds into the oven, it’s time to get started on the less glamorous, but equally delicious part of your pumpkin: the guts. Spooky! Once you’ve made sure to rid the orange goo of any seeds, steam it in a pot of water for 30 minutes, and then run it through a food processor. Voila! Pumpkin puree! A good pumpkin puree can be used to make anything from bisques and pies to topical creams. Let your creativity run wild.

"It isn’t Halloween if you aren’t elbow-deep in pumpkin guts, after all."

3. The Pumpkin Itself

After the tricks have been played and the treats have been eaten, your once impressive creation has started to deflate. If you squint hard enough, it almost seems like your pumpkin is frowning…and no one wants that. What do you do with an old, rotting pumpkin? Compost it! If you don’t have access to a compost pile, you can also bury your carved pumpkins in your garden to provide added nutrients to the soil (be sure there are no seeds left or you’ll have quite a surprise later on…). If you have some livestock or chickens, you can even feed it to them. “Hello, gourmet meal!” - Your chickens.

Sustainability doesn’t have to be a pain in the posterior. This Halloween, take one more step towards a more sustainable lifestyle and turn your Jack-O-Lantern into a Jack-Of-All-Trades-O-Lantern.




 

 

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