There aren't many great solutions for minimizing the waste created by jack-o-lanterns. They can't really become food after serving their Halloween purpose. (The FDA advises not eating pumpkins after they've been sitting out on your porch, especially after there's been a candle burning inside.)
One option is to compost your jack-o-lantern instead of trashing the spent pumpkins ― at least that'll put nutrients back into the soil. Another idea is to do something with the pumpkin seeds you scoop out of the cavity. (And in a perfect world, you'll do both.)
When you carve your pumpkin this year, separate the seeds from the stringy flesh, wash them and keep them (if that's confusing to you, watch the video below). You'll have a raw ingredient on your hands with infinite culinary possibilities. One tried and true recipe to make with raw pumpkin seeds is to simply roast them.
You can keep them simple and just roast them in olive oil and salt ― like food blogger Simply Recipes does with her classic recipe. You can take it up a notch and roast those seeds with bacon, if you're feeling particularly carnivorous. (We have that recipe for you below.) Or you can roast the pumpkin seeds and use them in a recipe as a star ingredient.
Whatever you do, just don't throw them out ― make one of these recipes instead.
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