Have Your Pumpkin Decor — and Eat it Too


Happy National Pumpkin Day! It’s a day to recognize an adored Autumn symbol that comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Today we’re talking about some different types of pumpkins that make a magical decor item, AND delicious Fall vegetable fruit to include in countless recipes! (I was today years old when I learned, from my husband, that pumpkins are fruit.)

I recently hosted a baby shower in the fall and decided to create a beautiful fall-themed entry to welcome our guests. My family went to a local pumpkin patch and picked out an awesome multi-colored, fluffy, lumpy arrangement of gourd goodness to jump-start the inspiration. Days beyond the party day had me wondering what to do with these gorgeous gourds. It felt a crime to just let them rot and ultimately trash them. That’s when the realization struck me — these are EDIBLE. So I began looking up what I could do to feed my family in the coming days with these beauties. What a double win!

Pumpkins I Chose

The “One-Too-Many” pumpkin is cream-colored with reddish veins on the outside. The inside is a pale yellow, smells sweet, and contains large, white seeds. After gutting it, I baked it in the oven for 40 minutes at 375°. This allowed me to scoop out the flesh easily, which is more like a stringy squash texture. I froze it and eventually combined it with other pumpkins for some different recipes.

The “Porcelain Doll” is a darling, deeply-ribbed, square-ish, creamsicle orange pumpkin. The flesh on the inside is thick, smooth, and bright orange. I actually tasted it raw, which matched its sweet, mouth-watering smell. I sliced it (skin-on) like you would a cantaloupe. From there I froze the slices in bags and pulled a bag out to roast in the oven as needed. It made a delicious autumn side at dinnertime!

The “Red Warty Thing” looks much like its name with a deep-orange, reddish skin filled with small bumps. It’s globular, slightly lopsided shape makes it a unique decorative item for fall. I chunked this bad boy up for a pumpkin chili recipe for the family.

The “Jarrahdale” is a dreamy, fairy tale beauty that I love! It’s blue-gray color, deep ribs, and sweet, thick innards made it another hit for recipes. I sliced this up for roasting and other needs.

The “Flat White Boer” pumpkin is a squatty, white gem with a bright orange inner flesh smelling sweet and sugary. To be honest, I was getting weary of dissecting and consuming pumpkin. So by the time I got to this one — it was too late. BUT, this beauty can be used just as much as the others for countless recipes!

My takeaway from the experience…

After a couple of months of pumpkin flesh taking up freezer space, obsessive pumpkin recipe thoughts, and overly-pumpkinified taste buds — I wouldn’t utilize this many pumpkins to eat up in one season again. By the end, I was handing out pumpkin cookies and soup to friends just to get it out of my house.

But this gives some examples of what can be enjoyed for decoration AND eating… and there are SO MANY other pumpkin/squash varieties that can be used. Though I went overboard this first time, it was a fun experiment to see how each pumpkin varied on the inside. It was also a great, gooey, activity for my preschooler to get his hands into with me. And I did love the thrill of taking items I spent money on for decorating and being able to put that “inventory” to use for feeding my family throughout the season.

I’m not a chef by any means. Some pumpkin varieties would be better for different cuisines, but I didn’t bother to differentiate in my cooking. And most of the time I ended up mixing different pumpkins into the same recipe. But I figure it’s a win — getting something different in my family’s bellies and trying new recipes altogether! We tried chili with homemade pureed pumpkin, ground turkey chili with chunked pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, mashed with cinnamon, roasted, and more!

Don’t forget the seeds!

My family loves to separate pumpkin seeds from the innards as we gut a pumpkin. The seeds make such a great, nutritious snack (packed with fiber and protein) for on-the-go!

After separating and rinsing the seeds, lay them out on a paper towel to dry. Then in a bowl, coat them with oil and whatever flavoring you want to add. My family likes to do two different batches — one with salt, and one with cinnamon and sugar. Then we have sweet AND salty options to satisfy the taste buds at any moment! Lay them flat on a baking sheet, pop them in the oven, and roast until they’re golden brown, stirring once or twice in the middle. For me, this seasonal snack really makes it feel like fall… even if the Lowcountry temperatures try to argue otherwise.

Do you have a go-to pumpkin recipe you can share? I’d love some new ideas!