Do you throw out your jack-o-lantern after Halloween? Hope not, because you’re throwing out a whole lot of delicious!
While sugar pumpkins are the sweetest of holiday squash, all pumpkins are edible and usable, even after you’ve carved them and left them out overnight. And there are so very many things you can do with pumpkin. Muffins are just one example.
To render your jack-o-lantern edible, first wash or carve off any marker or crayon on the outer shell. If you used paint, you may have to carve it off. If you used a wax candle inside the pumpkin, cut away any wax drippings or scorched bits. Basically, you want nothing but pumpkin going in your oven.
Spray a baking sheet with canola oil or rub it with butter. Then cut your pumpkin (roughly) in half and set it on the baking sheet with the cut edges down. Bake the pumpkin at 400 degF until it becomes soft and a fork easily penetrates the shell. This will take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pumpkin.
Let your pumpkin cool completely. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, scoop the pumpkin flesh off of the shell. Use a blender or food processor to puree the flesh until it’s smooth. You can now use this puree in place of canned pumpkin in any recipe, or you can place it in freezer bags and freeze it for later holiday baking.
Remember me telling you that I was cooking lamb-in-a-pumpkin supper for 30 last week? I actually only had 26, and I vastly overestimated the size of the pumpkin to cook the stew in, so I ended up with a LOT of leftover roasted pumpkin. (The smaller pumpkin in the photo was a vegan version substituting white kidney beans and sauteed oyster and portobello mushrooms for the lamb.)
Last night, I rinsed some of the flesh, so it wouldn’t taste too much of stew, pureed it as above, and used the following recipe, which I found on ThisGrandmaIsFun.com, to make pumpkin muffins for Nora’s Halloween party today. I modified it in one way: I added raisins and dried cranberries. I also tripled the recipe below and found that it made 60 small (not mini) muffins, so the recipe below should make 20, not 12 as the original recipe states.
RECYCLED JACK-O-LANTERN PUMPKIN MUFFINS
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup mixed raisins, golden raisins, and dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold to combine. The batter will be thick.
- Stir in the raisins and cranberries.
- Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Keep stirring occasionally to keep the raisins and cranberries from settling to the bottom.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan. Serve.
These are a great treat to serve on chilly mornings with breakfast or as an alternative to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.
Happy November, everyone!