Can I use my Jack-o-lantern?
I have been told never to use your jack-o-lantern after halloween for cooking because of the use of the candle inside. Has anyone heard of this? what about a beeswax candle? I suppose I could buy one of the battery operated lights too.
what is the easiest thing to do with fresh pumpkin? Does size of the pumpkin matter? I have never used mine b4, except for roasting seeds. It has always seemed like a pain, but maybe with a simple recipe I would be more inclined. I am trying to be more 'green' these days, and throwing away a pumpkin seems wasteful...actually I guess I will put it in my compost, but still.
You can, but the jack o lantern pumpkins are made for durability not eating so they don't have much flavor and are VERY watery. I processed one last year just because and it wasn't worth the energy required (since you are being green), to roast, strain, and then have to season it so it tasted like something. They may good compost.
I have never used a carved pumpkin for cooking, however, I have used jackolantern pumpkins. Last year, my daughter and I were grocery shopping on the day after Halloween and they had pumpkins for free. She picked out a couple so we could try cooking them. We brought them home, cut in half, scooped out the seeds, and roasted in the oven. When they were tender, we scooped out the meat and ran it through the food processor. The pumpkin was used in breads through the winter and it worked just fine.
I think the issue is that after you've hollowed it out, carved it, and then left it sitting around with a candle in it for a couple/few days, the actual pumpkin flesh will deteriorate - dry out, spoil, or rot. It obviously won't be fresh; cooking might take care of some of the issues, but it would probably not taste very good after the jack-o-lantern treatment.
If you did one of those faux jack-o-lanterns with the painted-on faces you could certainly use the pumpkin afterward, but if you carve it I'd say be content with the seeds, roasted, and some compost.
re: Bat Guano
good points. I did not realize that jack o lantern pumpkins are different. I have never bought a pumpkin for anything other than halloween. hmmm...not sure it if is worth it, if I carve it that is. we will see if I am in the mood to deal with it after halloween. of course I have to get to it before the hooligans smash it on the street!
if I do decide to use it in things like breads and muffins, do I cook the pumpkin them puree? or puree raw and freeze for future use?
There are sugar pumpkins which are better for cooking and you treat them like you would any other squash. Jack o Lantern pumpkins, especially after cut and sitting around for a long time, don't have as much taste and I'm thinking might be tough, though I've never tried it. Composting is good or you can call your local zoo and see if they can use it to feed animals.