Pumpkin–Turning Jack-o-Lanterns into Frugal Meals


Have you ever wondered how to use those jack-o-lantern pumpkins after they have served their purpose as decorations? Do you want to avoid having THIS happen to your perfectly good pumpkins?
(Thanks, friends, for allowing me to share this.)

Even though the “jack-o-lantern pumpkins” may not be as sweet as “pie pumpkins,” they still can provide a lot of nutrition and flavor, if you plan ahead.

A few things to keep in mind if you want to be able to use the pumpkin for food after its decoration life is over:

  • Keep the pumpkins from freezing.
  • Don’t carve your pumpkin too early; if it starts to wilt or sag, it probably is too late to get any meals from it.
  • If you put a candle inside, just cut out any smoke-blackened sections (and of course, cut out the wax drippings!).
  • Don’t paint the pumpkin, like the blue one in this picture. Even if you try to cut off the painted sections, you will likely find too little to use, and the effort will be so tedious, you’ll never try to save a pumpkin for food again.
  • On the other hand, if you use a marker for the features instead of cutting out eyes, mouth, etc., just cut those sections out.

And, whatever you do, please try to save the seeds–they are a wonderful snack and really easy to prepare. 

Now, for the good part! Here are some links to hints on preparation, along with some recipes you may want to try. If you were planning to just scrap the pumpkin, you can even think of this as “free” food!


First, some thoughts on preparation:
Thinking of only dessert uses for your pumpkin? How about some soup?
Or bread? This recipe calls for butternut squash, but you can easily substitute pureed pumpkin in recipes calling for pureed butternut squash. This one is a bit of a surprise but it’s always well-accepted.
The next two are related, again showing how easily squash and pumpkin can be substituted for each other.
And finally, there is the recipe from my friend, Arlene, cookies that are always gobbled up as soon as her famous cookie tins show up at a dinner or potluck:
Hope these links will get you started on some great uses for your “Great Pumpkin.”

Leave a Reply