Pumpkin 3 Way: Uses for Your Carving Pumpkin


Glowing carved pumpkin or jack-o-lantern sitting on a dark kitchen counter

The large jack-o-lantern pumpkins we carve in the fall do not make great pies.

For that you need to Harvest them when they are small.

But there are wonderful additional uses for your carved pumpkin leftovers!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Nothing beats homemade roasted pumpkin seeds. Half of the reason I carve a pumpkin each year is to get to the seeds. For two pumpkins, I usually have about 3-4 cups of raw seeds.

I soak them overnight in salt water, pat them dry, cover them in vegetable oil, and roast on 325 for about 40 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn.

Pumpkin seeds prior to roasting

Around our house, these treats are usually gone in 2 days.

For soaking, 4 cups of water to 1 tablespoon of salt overnight will do. Once roasted, they will dry up nicely and be even crunchier than without the soak.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Around Labor Day, Starbucks rolls out their fall lineup. I can usually resist the pumpkin spice latte until late October. Today I fell victim. As I waited for my order, I vowed to make my own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home from then on.

I used this recipe from The Messy Baker and substituted what would normally be canned pumpkin puree for the fresh innards of the pumpkin I was carving.

a saute pan cooking pumpkin pulp to make pumpkin spice syrup

Straining pumpkin spice syrup into canning jars

I now have 3 pint jars of pumpkin spice syrup; 1 for me, and 2 for gifts.

I kept the half filled jar for myself on the bar with the regular simple syrup and stored the other 2 in the fridge. They will keep this way for 3 months—plenty of time for Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts. All of that from 1 large pumpkin.

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Now, making the latte part of the pumpkin spice latte is another story. I use a stove-top espresso maker and a milk frother. Add a few teaspoons of the pumpkin spice syrup to tomorrow morning’s latte, and I will be one happy camper.

Pumpkin Face Mask

The enzymes in pumpkin are wonderful for our skin. Pumpkins are rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, a great exfoliator; loaded with antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C; and packed with anti-inflammatory benefits.

You can make a pumpkin face mask from this recipe from Popsugar.com, but I find that just spreading the pumpkin guts on my face work just as well.

While carving my pumpkin, my hands became slathered in pumpkin pulp. I simply took my slimy hands and spread the pulp over my face. While preparing the pumpkin spice syrup, the pumpkin dried on my face (about 15-20 minutes).

I took a break and rinsed it off. Voila. Softer skin with improved firmness.

I usually save about half of the leftover pumpkin innards in the refrigerator and smear some on my face when I have a spare half hour—once or twice a day until it is gone. It is fantastic.  If you prefer a more formal recipe, click the link above.

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And if all else fails, you should have a gorgeous carved pumpkin for Halloween night! Which, coincidentally, will make great compost (read about composting here)


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2 thoughts on “Pumpkin 3 Way: Uses for Your Carving Pumpkin

  • Virtual server

    This is a great use for a carved or uncarved pumpkin, and anything that adds a little natural beauty to the yard is a win to us. Head down to your local nursery, pick up some annuals, and use your pumpkin as the planter! It will be a festive decoration for a few days, and then you can plant the whole thing right in the backyard. The pumpkin will naturally compost and provide fertilizer for your plant.

  • siaosi

    I would like to make a nice pumpkin spice syrup. I think it would be appropriate to get a syrup that would match the holidays. I think it is awesome that there is a home remedy for this syrup.