It’s the best time of the year: pumpkin carving season, where you can showcase your creative, artistic skills or just basic carving skills of geometric shapes.

For those who have not had the privilege of carving a pumpkin, the first step is always to, as my mother would say, “gut the pumpkin.” This means pulling out those seeds covered in the stringy, gooey pulp.

Most of the time, that all ends up in the trash as we excitedly place our freshly-carved pumpkin in a place for others to admire. But wait, you can make some yummy snacks out of these seemingly, insignificant pumpkin parts.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

A photo posted by Naomi Parfait (@naomiparfait) on

Preheat the oven to 300 F and separate the seeds from the pulp. Rinse the seeds with water, let them dry (can pat down with towel), and spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil (or throw some butter on there if you’re feeling more adventurous). Season with salt, and depending on the size your spice pantry, sprinkle some powdered garlic, oregano or dried basil – whatever flavor profile you’re in the mood for. I personally enjoy just salt. Roast for 45 minutes or until golden brown, and let cool off. Viola – super easy recipe, and a quick grab-on-the-go snack to munch on when you’re bored in class. Pumpkin Butter

Change up what you’re putting on your toast every morning with this delicious homemade spread by making that horrible, stringy stuff from inside the pumpkin into pumpkin butter. This recipe does require a few more ingredients than the roasted pumpkin seeds, but is still easy to make.

You’ll need:

  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin guts, pureed
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

First puree the pumpkin guts (make sure you don’t include any of the seeds!). Then, toss the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened, making sure to stir frequently.

Put in a jar/container and chill in fridge until ready to serve.

(If you’re too lazy and don’t want to carve a pumpkin, you can substitute the guts with a 29 oz can of pumpkin puree)

Pumpkin Risotto 

And here we get fancy – I bet you’ve even seen this dish on a restaurant menu. Now you can make it in your kitchen and impress your friends. It’s actually not that difficult to make, as long as you cook the rice properly.

You’ll need:

  • 3-4 cups of chicken (or vegetable, for you vegetarians) stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup pumpkin guts, pureed
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • basil (optional)

Heat the stock to a simmer in a pot.

In another pot, add oil and saute garlic and onions until they soften. Stir in the rice and add the wine and cook until all the wine has evaporated.

Take one cup of stock from the other pot, along with nutmeg, and add to the rice. Reduce the heat so the rice mixture is simmering. Stir often until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding a cup of stock, until the rice is almost tender but still has some bite to it. (You might not use all the stock.)

Finally stir in the pumpkin, cheese, salt and pepper. And of course, garnish with more cheese and some basil if you want.