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LJ Open Aire Market: Pumpkins Aren't Just For Carving

Five fresh ideas on how to use pumpkins from the farmers market.

You see a pumpkin, you think fall comfort foods. Your kid sees a pumpkin, they think Halloween and carving.

Not to worry, your kids can have their pumpkin and you can eat it, too!

A fall food favorite, pumpkins are popping up all over the La Jolla Open Aire Market. Buy a pumpkin for yourself and pick a way (or two) below to utilize the delicious food. You could even use that carved or painted pumpkin on your porch for some of these ideas, making this rather orange holiday a little more green.

Spicy Squash Soup

Have you ever had butternut squash soup? I promise pumpkin is just as good. Here’s a recipe for some spicy pumpkin soup, courtesy of Oprah.com. It’s gotten some pretty rave reviews due to its spicy note and flavorful base. And let’s be honest, anything Oprah approves is totally worth trying.

Pumpkin Puree

Your Thanksgiving pie will never be the same. Skip the Libby’s this year and instead make some pumpkin puree for your holiday treats. Slice your pumpkin in half and scoop out the guts (have the kids separate the seeds for you!). Roast the pumpkin face down in a baking dish at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. The skin should peel away when they’re done and you can just dump the soft squash into a blender or food processor and puree away. Here’s a great tutorial from the Pioneer Woman.

BONUS: If you’re not a huge pumpkin pie fan, use the puree as a mask for your hair or face. I take no responsibility for your addiction after you realize its softening power on your skin and mane.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Have a relaxed weekend after the Halloween mayhem and blend up the ol’ Jack-O-Lantern on the porch into the puree above and mix about 1/3 cup of it into your favorite pancake mix. Add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and serve with caramel syrup.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

They’re a pain to pick out of the pumpkin guts, but there’s no way you can clean out a pumpkin to use for one of these recipes and not save the seeds. They’re amazing roasted (did I not prove that last year with my roasted recipe?) and they add a great crunch to the spicy squash soup, mentioned above. Plus, they're super healthy for you and even kids love them. Don't pitch the ugly looking seeds, either. Let them dry out and give them to the birds.

Use Your Carved Character for Compost

If your carved pumpkin is looking a little sad after the trick-or-treaters have left, don’t feel obligated to use it in the kitchen. Just fill it with some dirt and stick it in your planter for natural plant food. 

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