Edible Art: How to Cook Your Painted Pumpkin

October 31, 2016

If you have a young child you're likely to end up with at least one painted pumpkin between school activities, fall festivals, and general let’s-cure-boredom events during the Halloween season. Do yourself a favor and don't throw it out mid-November. Cook it! And cook the seeds, too! 

"Maybe it’s because I’m frugal, or because I love roasted vegetables, or because I hear so much about the health benefits of pumpkin every fall -- whatever the reason, I decided to cook our painted pumpkins last year instead of toss them into the woods, and it was phenomenal," says Steph Bilovsky, mother to a third grade pumpkin painter.

Click here for some health benefits of eating pumpkin.

There are several awesome pros to roasting autumn's veggies. It’s a super healthy method of preparation relying on little to no added fats. It warms the house on chilly nights and fills it with a festive aroma, and it’s easy to pull off, requiring very little human touch. This includes pumpkins. Cooking your painted pumpkins is beyond recycling, it’s double-purposing. So next time you’re transitioning from Halloween to Christmas, don’t toss the painted pumpkins … unless you toss them into a salad!

Simple is often best. Here’s one method.

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkins
  • Garlic Powder Shaker
  • Turmeric Powder Shaker
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking Oil Spray

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash the pumpkin in the sink scrubbing off any caked on excess paint. Cut the pumpkin in half. If you can't scrub off the paint, cut the rind off and just roast the flesh.
  3. Pull out the seeds and put them in a shallow baking pan.
  4. Cut the rest of the pumpkin into chunks and lay them in another shallow baking pan (rind-side down if it's still on).     
  5. Pull excess stringy flesh off the seeds (Some people rinse them, but I like the pumpkin flavor so I don’t.) Then spread a thin layer of turmeric and salt on the seeds. Stir the seeds in the spices with a fork and then spread them into a single layer on the sheet.
  6. Spray a waft of cooking oil over the pumpkin flesh chunks. Then shake a thin layer of garlic powder and pepper on the flesh.
  7. Put both sheets into the oven.  You may hear some popping from the seeds- this is fine.
  8. Remove the seeds after 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the chunks after 50 min (+ or – 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices). After removing the pumpkin chunks, turn off the oven and put the sheet of seeds back in and let them continue to dry out in there for an hour.

To eat the flesh, you can mash it, put it into a blender with a splash of milk or chicken stock for soup, or eat it by the spoonful salted and/or spiced to your desired taste. This last way is my fave.

Pumpkins have a long period of ripeness.

These photos are from a pumpkin we used for Halloween 2015, then cooked in January 2016.