Slow Cook Your Pumpkin Guts For Decadently Sweet Butter

According to a study by Emma Bedford that spanned 2017-2022, every Halloween, nearly 150 million Americans make plans to carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns (per Statista). However, not everyone plans to make the best use of the insides of their pumpkins. As we create space for candles to illuminate our carefully crafted faces and light the paths of trick-or-treaters, plenty of us toss the pumpkin pulp and seeds into the trash when we could instead transform them into something sweet to eat. One of the easiest options for repurposing pumpkin pulp is to turn it into pumpkin butter.

To make pumpkin butter, take the insides of your pumpkins and separate the pulp from the seeds, then place the pulp in a slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours. You can also add maple syrup, brown sugar, and spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) for extra flavor. Pumpkin butter is delicious as a topping for a number of dishes, but it also makes an excellent gift to friends during the fall season.

Enjoy sweet pumpkin butter in many ways

After your pumpkin guts have slowly simmered into a delicious pumpkin butter, you can add it to just about any sweet dish for a burst of autumnal flavor. Yes, it's fantastic on toast, but it can be baked into a curried pumpkin pie, swirled into a bowl of rum raisin ice cream, or mixed into cinnamon roll filling — the limit is your imagination. Spiced pumpkin waffles? Yes, please.

While pumpkin butter is most often served as a sweet treat, you can also enjoy it in a variety of savory preparations with the addition of ingredients like salt, roasted garlic, herbs, nuts, and cheeses. By adding olive oil, chickpeas, and tahini, you can turn your pumpkin guts into hummus. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even make your own pumpkin bread (savory or sweet) to use as the base for toast, upon which you can spread your pumpkin butter.

Additionally, pumpkin pulp can be useful in a wide variety of cozy, seasonal soups and stews. You can boil the pulp on its own or with other vegetables to create a basic, light stock — or you can blend it into a puree that is suitable for a creamy, substantial soup that can be served as a main course. The broth and the puree made with pumpkin pulp can also be used when preparing dishes like pumpkin risotto.

What to do with your pumpkin seeds

Now that you've made good use of the pumpkin pulp, don't forget about the pumpkin seeds! These seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals like magnesium and zinc. All you need to do is lay them out in an even layer on a baking sheet and cook them for a few minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. From there, you can blend them into a pesto or add them to granola and salads, as well as any kind of sweet or savory dish that could benefit from something crunchy — or simply enjoy them on their own!

If you aren't interested in eating the seeds yourself, you can also feed them to the birds and small animals that live around you. Place the seeds in a bowl and set them outside, ideally near a window so that you can watch as creatures nibble on them.