Thursday, October 10, 2013

Don't waste that pumpkin!

Don't waste that pumpkin! Here are a few tips for using that holiday pumpkin for more than just a decoration on your front porch.

Pumpkin is great in recipes, and very useful to add to dog food for added fiber, especially if loose stools are a problem. Add a generous spoonful -- 1-2 tablespoons -- to each meal to help with diarrhea or just to keep dogs regular.

Pumpkin seeds (raw or roasted) are thought to help with internal parasites and to boost immune health in dogs and humans. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, protein, and antioxidants. Plus, they are a tasty snack. Don't let those pumpkin seeds go to waste when you carve pumpkins for your porch!

(only roast fresh pumpkins, not pumpkins that have been carved and sitting out)

Halve the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds (see instructions for roasting seeds below). Place halves, cut side down, in a large baking pan lined with foil. Add about an inch of water and bake, uncovered, at 375F for 1.5-2 hours or until fork-tender (this is estimating a 7-lb pumpkin).

Cool, then scrape the "meat" from the shells and puree in a food processor or blender (add a little at a time). Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and drain the puree to remove the extra moisture before using in recipes or dog food.

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten by humans and dogs raw or roasted. Pumpkin seeds are thought to help naturally eliminate internal parasites in dogs, and boost immune health in dogs and people. Save the pumpkin seeds when you carve your pumpkins. Raw or roasted pumpkin seeds can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Boil seeds for 5 minutes in plenty of water. Drain well, sprinkle with salt, and spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet or flat baking tray.

Bake at 250F for 30 minutes, stir, then bake another 30 minutes to one hour, or until crunchy.