Traditional recipes

The Best Jack-O-Lanterns Aren't Pumpkins

The Best Jack-O-Lanterns Aren't Pumpkins

Lately, it seems like all kinds of fruits and veggies are getting in on the jack-o-lantern fun. From edible treats to cute decorations, here are our favorite, spookily-cute offerings, as seen on the ‘gram.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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A great idea with one of our favorite fruits, maybe make a refreshing salad with the insides.

Living somewhere tropical? Here's a cute alternative to the gourd.

These clever peppers are stuffed with chicken mole. Can you think of anything more delicious?

We’re loving these orange “pumpkin” treats!

We’re pretty sure garlic wouldn’t repel these guys!

Not into mole? This tasty little guy is filled with chicken salad.

Okay, these are just way too cute. We LOVE the idea of a fruity overnight oat cup!

Of course we should eat fruit salad out of… fruit! Why didn’t we think of that?

Okay, so technically, these aren’t carved, but we love ghost bananas! So much cuter than that terrifying haunted banana prank.

Okay, there’s a LOT going on in this photo, but we’re here for all of this healthy fun.

No, these aren’t carved either, but we’d like to give them the award for best use of googly eyes.

And finally, just a really impressive, frankly creepy watermelon situation.

Are Halloween Pumpkins Edible?

When people visit their local family-owned pumpkin patch around Halloween, they aren’t usually looking for dinner. The majority of the nearly 2 billion pounds of pumpkins cultivated in the U.S. each year are carved up instead of eaten, making the squash a unique part of the agriculture industry. For people who prefer seasonal recipes to Halloween decorations, that may raise a few questions: Are the pumpkins sold for jack-o’-lanterns different from pumpkins sold as food? And are Halloween pumpkins any good to eat?

The pumpkins available at farms and outside supermarkets during October are what most people know, but that’s just one type of pumpkin. Howden pumpkins are the most common decorative pumpkin variety. They’ve been bred specifically for carving into jack-o’-lanterns, with a symmetrical round shape, deep orange color, and sturdy stem that acts as a handle. Shoppers looking for the perfect carving pumpkin have other options as well: the Racer, Magic Wand, Zeus, Hobbit, Gold Rush, and Connecticut field pumpkin varieties are all meant to be displayed on porch steps for Halloween.

Because they’re bred to be decoration first, carving pumpkins don’t taste very good. They have walls that are thin enough to poke a cheap knife through and a texture that’s unappealing compared to the squashes consumers are used to eating. “Uncut carving pumpkins are safe to eat however, it's not the best type to use for cooking,” Daria McKelvey, a supervisor for the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden, tells Mental Floss. “Carving pumpkins are grown for their large size, not the flavor. Their flesh can be bland and the fibers are very stringy.”

To get the best-tasting pumpkins possible this autumn, you’re better off avoiding the seasonal supermarket displays. Many pumpkin varieties are bred especially for cooking and eating. These include Sugar Pie, Kabocha, Jack-Be-Little, Ghost Rider, Hubbard, Jarrahdale, Baby Pam, and Cinderella pumpkins. You can shop for these varieties by name at local farms or in the produce section of your grocery store. They should be easy to tell apart from the carving pumpkins available for Halloween: Unlike decorative pumpkins, cooking pumpkins are small and dense. This is part of the reason they taste better. McKelvey says. “[Cooking pumpkins] are smaller, sweeter, have a thicker rind (meatier), and have less fibers, making them easier to cook with—but not so good for carving.” These pumpkins can be stuffed, blended into soup, or simply roasted.

If you do want to get some culinary use out of your carving pumpkins this Halloween, set aside the seeds when scooping out the guts. Roasted with seasonings and olive oil, seeds (or pepitas) from different pumpkin varieties become a tasty and nutritious snack. Another option is to turn the flesh of your Halloween pumpkin into purée. Adding sugar and spices and baking it into a dessert can do a lot to mask the fruit’s underwhelming flavor and consistency.

Whatever you do, make sure your pumpkin isn’t carved up already when you decide to cook with it. There are many ways to recycle your jack-o’-lanterns, but turning them into pie isn’t one of them. "If one does plan on cooking with a carving pumpkin, it should be intact,” McKelvey says. “Never use one that's been carved into a jack-o'-lantern, otherwise you could be dealing with bacteria, dirt and dust, and other little critters.”

Great Jack-'o-Lantern Blaze In Croton-on-Hudson, New York

The Great Jack-'o-Lantern Blaze is one of the biggest -if not the biggest - pumpkin display in the Tristate area. Not far from New York City, this display is in the Hudson Valley and features more than 7,000 Jack-'o-lanterns, each one carved in a different way and depicting a fun scene or theme. While guests will need to go at night to see all of these pumpkins alight, the views aren't bad during the day either since the entire tour runs along the Hudson River. It's one of the longest tours in the area as well, with various displays consisting of anything from mechanical, moving setups to 360-degree pumpkin rooms.

Can You Use Other Kinds of Squash to Bake With?

Everyone knows and loves the heirloom pumpkin, Rouges Vif d&aposEtampes, also known as the Cinderella pumpkin, but it is not a true pumpkin. Pumpkins are classified as Cucurbita pepo. Cinderella pumpkins are classified as C. maxima, which is considered to be a variety of winter squash. Nevertheless, they can be used for cooking and baking. Another heirloom favorite that is not a true pumpkin is Musquee de Provence, classified as C. moschata, also a variety of winter squash. Musquee de Provence is likewise a good culinary squash. Both have firm flesh and low water content. And those pastel pumpkins that you see everywhere? They are called, improbably, cheese pumpkins and classified as C. moschata. Not only are they wonderful decorative squash, but you can cook with them too.

25 of the Best Ways to Use a Pumpkin

Pumpkins are fun to grow in your garden, carve for Halloween, and cook up for delicious fall recipes. If you raise a bumper crop or find a great deal on these festive fruits in early November, you might be wondering how to preserve, eat, or otherwise use them up before they rot. I love growing my own pumpkins and over the years I’ve found plenty of recipes and frugal ways to put them to good use. So here is a fun list of the best ways to use a pumpkin before it goes bad!

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25+ of the Best Ways to Use Your Pumpkins!

Don’t toss your pumpkins in the trash after Halloween! There are plenty of ways to use pumpkins that haven’t been carved before they go to waste.

In my opinion, the best way to use a fresh whole pumpkin is to cook it and eat it! Maybe you have more pumpkins than you can consume right away… keep reading for more ideas!

Before you eat any raw pumpkin, make sure that it is freshly cut to avoid bacteria. See the section below on eating carved pumpkins.

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Try Some of These Ideas This Year…

  1. Make Pumpkin Puree to use or freeze for later
  2. Preserve pumpkin cubes with a pressure canner
  3. Dehydrate pumpkin slices
  4. Whip up a batch of pumpkin ice cream
  5. Make a pumpkin smoothie with frozen bananas, milk, pumpkin puree, and spices
  6. Bake some wheat-free dog biscuits
  7. Bake pumpkin bread or muffins
  8. Whip up a pumpkin pie or custard
  9. Slow cook some Pumpkin Butter in a root cellar for winter use
  10. Stir up some pumpkin soup
  11. Eat pumpkin-pecan ‘pie’ pancakes for breakfast
  12. Roast the pumpkin seeds
  13. Use a slow cooker to create a batch of pumpkin spice lattes
  14. Bake a savory fall pizza with pumpkin puree in place of the pizza sauce
  15. Feed pumpkin chunks to chickens, pigs, or goats
  16. Make Pumpkin Fries to plant in spring
  17. Use pumpkins in place of winter squash in recipes
  18. Simmer a hearty pot of chili with pumpkin puree
  19. Create a pumpkin ‘tureen’ – Scoop out innards and fill with pumpkin soup, stew, or chili
  20. Make a pumpkin face mask (Mix 1 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp milk, and 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree. Slather on your face, leave on for 15 minutes, wash off.)
  21. Treat your skin to a pumpkin scrub (mix 1 Tbsp sugar with 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree. Scrub skin and rinse.)
  22. Condition your hair with pumpkin puree and honey (1 Tbsp honey to 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. Apply to scalp and hair, leave in 15 minutes, rinse.)
  23. Feed the wildlife – cut pumpkin in half, leave seeds and guts, add birdseed, and leave out for squirrels, birds, and chipmunks to feast on!
  24. Compost your extra pumpkins for a healthy soil amendment

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

It’s not hard to make your own pumpkin puree to use in recipes or preserve for winter. If you have a more than you can use up right away, try preserving some for later.

Freezing is the easiest way to preserve your pureed pumpkin, but you can pressure can pumpkins by cutting into cubes instead of pureeing. I shared the instructions for both in my post How to Cook and Use Pie Pumpkins.

Did you know that you can also use any pumpkin, including the type sold for jack-o-lanterns, to make pumpkin puree? It’s true! You can make all the pumpkin puree you need for the year when these fruits go on sale after Halloween!

Dehydrate Your Pumpkins

Pumpkins can be preserved by pureeing or slicing and dehydrating for shelf-stable storage. Use your dehydrated pumpkin for dog treats, grind into a powder for smoothies, or grind into pumpkin flour!

To dehydrate pumpkin flesh: Cut in half, scoop out seeds and ‘guts’, peel, slice into 1/8″ thick strips, blanch for 1 minute, lay strips on dehydrator trays, and turn dehydrator to about 125 Fahrenheit. Allow to dry for 10 to 12 hours, or until it is brittle.

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Pumpkin Treats for Your Pets and Livestock

Many pets and farm animals love pumpkins as a healthy treat. Cut your pumpkin in half and set it in the chicken pen to give your flock a hobby for the day. Most poultry species (such as ducks, guinea fowl, and turkeys) will gobble up pumpkin flesh and seeds, both raw and cooked.

Most dogs can have dried pumpkin slices as a crunchy treat that helps clean their teeth. The vitamins and minerals in dried squash and pumpkin are great for them and there are hardly any calories. Make sure your dog isn’t prone to wolfing these down without chewing or they could get a piece stuck in their throat.

Pumpkin seeds are often touted as a natural de-wormer for poultry. However, to release the natural anti-parasite properties of pumpkin seeds, you’ll need to create a tincture. Here are the instructions from Backyard Poultry.

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Can You Eat Your Jack-o-lantern?

It doesn’t take very long for bacteria to start growing on a cut pumpkin. For this reason, it isn’t a good idea to eat your carved pumpkins. Instead, feed them to your livestock, leave them for the wildlife, or compost them and enrich your garden soil with them in the spring. Just don’t put that mushy old jack-o-lantern in the trash where it will take up landfill space.

After Halloween is over, you might be able to pick up pumpkins really cheap and use these for making your own puree and other goodies. In my area, pie pumpkins don’t seem to be marked down until after Thanksgiving but field pumpkins (the kind used for carving) are a dime a dozen on November 1st!

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Grow Your Own Pumpkins!

I love growing different varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash in my garden each year. It’s fun to decorate our porch, front yard, and home with different colors, shapes, and sizes of these festive fruits!

Raising your own is a great way to save money, too. One packet of seeds is likely to produce dozens of pumpkins… more than most families need. With that many winter squash or pumpkins in your garden, you’ll have enough to deck out the whole yard, make your own pies and baked goods, and still have some to give away. Learn how to grow the best pumpkin varieties.

For the gardening or homesteading entrepreneur, pumpkins can also be a great cash crop. If you live on a busy road or sell veggies at the farmers market you can bring in some extra dough with a u-pick pumpkin patch or fall farm stand.

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About The Author

Lisa Lombardo

Lisa Lombardo is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Backyard Homesteading and she writes about gardening and homesteading for this website and The New Homesteader's Almanac. Lisa grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.


Thank you for hosting! This is what I featured the week of 10-12-to 10-16-2020 on my blog. On Tuesday was Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Paella. Wednesday was Crock Pot Meatballs and Gravy. Thursday was Pierogi and Sausage Crock Pot. And winding up Crock Pot week was Crock pot Sausage and Sauerkraut. Enjoy!

My son-in-law just made a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin and not a can. I was impressed! Thanks for the party!

That’s awesome, Amy! Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks so much for hosting each week!! It is greatly appreciated!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

A Hallowed Delight

Truly, there&rsquos nothing better than harvesting your own homegrown pumpkins to enjoy as part of your Halloween festivities.

If you grow several different varieties, you can paint a few, carve a couple, and use the rest for decoration, pies, and other tasty fall treats.

So get those seeds in the ground, and show us all your plump squashes come October! Please feel free to share your photos in the comments.

Photos by Felicia Lim, Laura Melchor, and Nikki Cervone © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Eden Brothers and True Leaf Market. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

About Laura Ojeda Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she&rsquos brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska. She&rsquos especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web. Laura also writes novels and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Tape an LED to a lithium battery to make an LED glowie, seal it in a plastic baggie, and place it inside your jack-o-lantern. Now, add dry ice, hot water and a squirt of dishwashing detergent. This is a dynamic colorful effect that lasts as long as there is dry ice. Simply add more to keep it going.

Fantastic Jack-O-Lantern Ideas

Here are the ideas I’ve found to share with you:

1. The ‘Backside’ of a Pumpkin

I had to start off with this idea. There is no tutorial, unfortunately. Yet, it is just too funny and would certainly catch most people’s eyes.

So if you are looking for a funny Jack-o-lantern idea, then you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

2. An Apple Core

This is a really cute way to decorate a pumpkin for your front porch. It is also very inexpensive to do. According to the post, you’ll just need to purchase some paint which is only a few dollars.

Plus, it looks pretty easy to carve out as well. So if you want unique, then consider this idea.

3. The Hamburger Pumpkin

This pumpkin idea is really unique and quite adorable too. If you love hamburgers, then why not decorate your pumpkin like one.

So there is actually a great tutorial to help you too. All the more reason to recreate this idea.

4. The Wifi is Down

This pumpkin idea is another one that is sure to get a few chuckles from those who pass by.

So if you want to create a truly scary pumpkin, then broadcast that you have no wifi in glowing lights.

5. Baby on the Way

Are you pregnant and plan on finding out what gender you are having around Halloween? If so, then you’ll love this pumpkin.

So you’ll actually carve a pumpkin and light it up as part of your gender reveal. Pretty neat, huh?

6. Pumpkin Pi

This is a really clever idea for carving your pumpkin. If you love pumpkin pie, then you must carve a pumpkin with the pi symbol.

So this may not be for everyone, but I thought it was rather clever.

7. Starbucks Templates

This website contains templates for both Starbucks coffee and their symbol. So if you love Starbucks, then this could be a great idea for your pumpkin this year.

If nothing else, I’m sure many adults will get a chuckle out of it.

8. Sweet M&M’s Pumpkin

Would you like to have a unique pumpkin idea to sit on your front porch or even to use as a centerpiece? But you really don’t want to have to carve much?

Well, then you’ll love this idea. The large pumpkin looks like a bowl while the smaller pumpkins are made to look like M&M’s.

9. The Mickey Mouse Pumpkin

Halloween should be a fun time, but for small children sometimes it can be scary. So why not create a pumpkin they’ll love instead of one that scares them?

If you fit into this category, then consider this Mickey Mouse pumpkin idea. It is really cute!

10. A Heart Beat Pumpkin

This pumpkin is great for those that want to represent their spiritual beliefs in their pumpkin décor.

So if this represents your belief, then you might really like the template to recreate it for your front porch.

11. Light of the World Pumpkin

I live in an area where it is very common for people to use Halloween to share their beliefs with others. It is also really unique to see some of the ideas they come up with to get their message out.

Well, I thought this idea was very interesting because it is a back projecting pumpkin. You could use this idea for many designs during Halloween, but I thought this was definitely worth the share.

12. The Tin Man Pumpkin

Do you love ‘The Wizard of Oz?’ If so, then you’ll really appreciate this pumpkin. It looks pretty easy to recreate.

But it would definitely be a design that would catch a lot of attention.

13. Sound the Alarm

I love this pumpkin idea. It is really unique and quite cute. If you love clocks, then you may want to recreate this idea.

But I think I love it so much because I had a grandfather that built clocks and absolutely loved them. So I definitely appreciate this design.

14. The Octopus Jack-o-Lantern

This jack-o-lantern would be great for those who love octopus or who plan on having a nautical theme.

So if this describes you, then you may definitely want to use this design as inspiration.

15. The Haunted Carousel

This design for a pumpkin is really unique and will take a lot of artistic ability, and was the winner of a 2010 pumpkin carving contest.

So if you are feeling artistic, then take on this design idea for a great pumpkin this year.

16. Winnie the Pooh

Do you have a child in your home that loves Winnie the Pooh? I totally get it because I used to love Winnie the Pooh too.

Well, why not decorate a pumpkin like Winnie the Pooh to make Halloween less scary and tons more fun for them?

17. Nemo Pumpkin

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. How encouraging was that little Disney Movie, “Finding Nemo?”

Well, keep up with the positivity and create a pumpkin that looks just like little Nemo. It looks pretty easy to do too.

18. Tinker Bell Pumpkin

This pumpkin carving looks pretty simple to do, yet it is still really gorgeous to look at.

Plus, it actually has a tutorial to help you along with the process. So if you want a unique pumpkin design, then check this out.

19. Minnie Mouse Pumpkin

This is a great pumpkin design idea but will require some artistic skill as there isn’t a real tutorial.

But if you can get the facial expressions down right, then the rest looks pretty simple to figure out from there.

20. The Nautical Pumpkins

These pumpkins are actually hand designed and shipped to you, for those that aren’t into recreating things.

But if you are rather artistic and just need some inspiration, then these pumpkins are a great place to start for a nautical theme this Halloween.

21. The Cupcake Pumpkin

Are you a baker? Then why not decorate your pumpkins to match your hobby or business?

Well, thanks to this design you can. There is no tutorial, but it looks rather simple to figure out. So give it a try this Halloween.

22. Cheshire Cat Carving Template

This is a great idea for anyone that loves Alice in Wonderland. If you would like to decorate or carve a pumpkin like the Cheshire cat, then you’ll love this template.

Because it not only makes a cute pumpkin, but it makes making a cute pumpkin a little easier.

23. Despicable Me Pumpkins

This is a really fun idea if you have kids that love Minions. If so, then you’ll have to have one large pumpkin to look like Cru and then smaller pumpkins to paint like Minions.

So if you want a fun, yet simple idea, then you should check this one out. There is no template, but it doesn’t appear to be super difficult either.

24. A Pineapple Pumpkin

Are you dreaming of warmer days or island living? Well, don’t get the blues. Instead, carve your pumpkin with a pineapple in it to at least feel like you are on an island.

Then you can dream of those warm days coming back again every time you light the pumpkin and the pineapple glows.

25. Aerial Pumpkin Carvings

This is an idea that is great if you have an amazing artistic ability. The link below will take you to the artist that actually created this pumpkin.

This pumpkin was featured along with other Little Mermaid carvings as well. They will hopefully inspire you.

Connecticut Field Pumpkin Information

There’s nothing complicated about Connecticut field pumpkins. This heirloom variety is the familiar, deep orange-yellow pumpkin traditionally found in supermarkets and farmers’ markets. Their shape, smooth skin and firm, flat bottom make them the pumpkin of choice for creating jack o’ lanterns.

Connecticut field pumpkins, however, aren’t the best choice for most recipes, as the flesh tends to be coarse, stringy, and not particularly sweet. However, Connecticut pumpkins remain a gardener’s favorite because they’re so reliably easy to grow.

Because seeds were cheap and pumpkins required so little effort to produce, Connecticut pumpkins made reliable feed for hogs and cattle. The pumpkins, which weren’t considered a money crop, were often planted in corn fields, an effective use of precious acreage and hence its name. Things are different now, as Halloween is a lucrative holiday and pumpkins have become a multi-million dollar crop.

Pumpkin chili, creamy soup: Recipes to try beyond the jack-o-lanterns

FEATURE — Fall is in full swing, and pumpkins are everywhere. Pumpkin can be used for so much more than just carving, crafts or cookies. There are many ways to prepare it, and many people aren’t aware of the added bonus of the gourd’s health benefits.

Pumpkin soup | Stock image, St. George News

Pumpkin is low in calories. One-half cup of mashed pumpkin without salt has 24 calories, 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber and 1 milligram of sodium. Pumpkins are packed with nutrients, such as fiber and beta carotene — a nutrient our bodies use produce vitamin A. Pumpkins are also rich in potassium.

You can steam a pumpkin, bake it, boil it, microwave it and pressure cook it. Once cooked it can be mashed, pureed, cubed and stored in either the fridge or freezer in air-tight containers.

There are many options for mashed or pureed pumpkin, either fresh or canned. Some include muffins, biscuits, quick breads, soups and sauce for pastas. It can also be added to chili, smoothies, cheese balls and hummus. Cubed and cooked pumpkin can be used with pasta, risotto, soups, salads and casseroles.

Try these savory pumpkin recipes to get a delicious taste of fall.

Pumpkin chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped.
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1 3/4 cup fresh steamed, mashed pumpkin or use 1 can of 15 ounces, solid-pack pumpkin.
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained.
  • 3 cups chicken broth.
  • 2-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken, or cooked ground beef.
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes.
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder.
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin.
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper cook and stir until tender. Add garlic cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker stir in the next 10 ingredients. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours. If desired, cube avocado and thinly slice green onions and top when serving. This recipe yields 10 servings.

Quick and easy creamy pumpkin soup

  • 2 cups finely chopped onions.
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly, tops included.
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery.
  • 1 green chili pepper, chopped.
  • 1/2 cup canola oil.
  • 3 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth, reduced sodium, or 6 cups homemade chicken stock.
  • 1 3/4 cup fresh steamed and pureed pumpkin or use 1 can 15 ounce solid-pack pumpkin).
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin.
  • 1 cup undiluted, evaporated skim milk.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

In a 6-quart saucepan, sauté onions, green onions, celery and chili pepper in oil. Cook until onions begin to look translucent. Add broth, pumpkin, bay leaf and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Add evaporated milk and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Do not boil. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, if desired. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Transfer hot soup to a cleaned pumpkin, if desired.

In order to keep the soup hot longer when transferring to a cleaned pumpkin, heat the cleaned pumpkin for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees. This heats the inside up nicely but does not make the pumpkin soft. Once the soup is cleaned out, you can either fully cook the pumpkin for future use or discard it.

Written by Teresa Hunsaker, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences educator.