Pumpkin guts

You’ve heard about toasting pumpkin seeds, but you’ll be surprised to learn just how much you can do with pumpkin guts. I certainly was.

Pumpkin guts consist of thick, pulpy bits, slimy stringy innards, and seeds. Each part of pumpkin guts can be used in a variety of ways, from culinary to crafty. This year after you bring pumpkins home from your local farmers market to carve, make sure to save the guts and get creative. All it takes is a little imagination and you can use the whole pumpkin (goopy bits and all)

Read on to get more ideas for your pumpkin guts than you’ll be able to try this fall.

Pumpkin guts - ideas

1. Find & save the best pumpkin seeds

Take a minute to invest in next year’s pumpkin crop. Collect the seeds from inside your pumpkin! Dry them out on a plant so you can save your seeds and plant them next summer. That way, you’ll never run out of pumpkin goodness.

Here is an article all about how to grow your own organic pumpkins.

Seeds saved from pumpkin on a white plate
Separate out some of the biggest, best, thickest seeds right at the beginning to dry and plant in the spring garden.
Seperating out pumpkin seeds from pumpkin guts in the sink
Separate and wash the rest of the seeds to roast them into a tasty autumn snack!

2. Roast pumpkin seeds for snacking

You’ve heard this one before. Homemade roasted seeds are one of the most beloved autumn snacks. Don’t let them go to waste!

Take special care to remove and set aside the guts/seeds before really scraping or carving the pulp of the pumpkin. Roast the seeds on a sheet pan for a crunchy snack. Oil, salt, and pepper will do the trick, but you can also get a little fancy by making autumn-spiced pumpkin seeds with cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, or other fall-type spices.

I love adding homemade roasted pumpkin seeds to this Autumn Spiced Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola.

3. Incorporate into carved pumpkin design

Carving a Jack-O-Latern is a Halloween tradition. This year, try spicing it up with some scary pumpkin faces or your own vomiting pumpkin!

A vomiting pumpkin involves putting innards aside while you carve a nice open mouth for your Jack-o-Lantern. Then once the pumpkin is in place on the front porch, arrange the guts artistically to look like the pumpkin is throwing up. Charming.

Pumpkin guts inside of a pumpkin before carving

4. Pumpkin gut bread

Pumpkin bread isn’t the first recipe that usually comes to mind when thinking of baking with pumpkins. Usually, pumpkin pie is, but that can get a little boring over time.

This pumpkin guts bread recipe from Eating Richly is a Pinterest-perfect way to use up pumpkin guts. It’s topped with pecans and is oh-so-delicious. Seriously – she even asks her friends for THEIR pumpkin guts. This is a fall pumpkin bread recipe worth trying.

Note: For a little bit of a twist add some pumpkin pie spice as a garnish!

“While homemade pumpkin puree is typically sweeter and more flavorful from smaller sugar pumpkins, or pie pumpkins, you can use the guts from any pumpkin in pumpkin gut bread. Could you imagine how much bread you could make with the guts from the GIANT pumpkins?!”

Recipe for Pumpkin Bread (And How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin), by Eating Richly
Spooning pumpkin guts with seeds out of jack-o-lanterns

5. Veggie stock with pumpkin guts

Are you a soup maker? If any of your favorite recipes call for vegetable stock, simmer your pumpkin guts with other veggies. Your winter cooking will have an autumnal kick to it all season long.

The Rouge Vif d’Etampes Pumpkin is a classic staple in French cuisine for soups. If you haven’t bought your pumpkins yet, consider seeking out this gem.

6. Juice the pumpkin guts

Juice those guts. While pumpkin juice can be delicious to drink on its own, you can also add it to smoothies. If you’ve got lots, freeze the extra in an ice cube tray so you can add a bit to smoothies throughout the upcoming season.

Sensory bag of pumpkin guts for toddler

7. Sensory bin/bag activity for toddlers

Anyone with a toddler knows that kids love “sensory bins” – which are basically just tubs filled with interesting things. Some sensory bins take a lot of prep work (I’m looking at you, rainbow-dyed grains of rice). This particular sensory bin, ahem, does not.

In this case, your sensory bin will be filled with slimy pumpkin guts. Have the kids work on their fine motor skills by separating the seeds from the slimy stringy bits.

For a less-messy activity, pop the pumpkin guts (seeds and all) into a big ziploc bag. Close the bag, pushing out all the air you can, so it’s relatively flat. Toddlers love to play with the jiggly wiggly bag of pumpkin guts! You might even get five minutes to yourself!

8. Pumpkin slime

Yes, of course, it is entirely possible to make pumpkin-gut slime for kids. As if there weren’t enough kinds of slime on Pinterest already. And you can even make it with contact-solution. Who knew?

If plain slime is gross, this is full-on slimy. But wow is it a toddler crowd-pleaser!

9. Pumpkin-seed arts & crafts

Consider this a follow-up activity to pumpkin carving and pumpkin-gut sensory bags for your kids. If you dry those pumpkin seeds and add a little paint, they can make a cute little necklace or bracelet. They can also be glued to make an autumn mosaic or threaded together with some nuts and berries to make a hanging bird feeder.

Pumpkin pulp in bowl after carving

10. Make homemade pumpkin gut puree

Now that the seeds are set aside, it’s time to deal with the stringy pumpkin guts. Some pumpkin varieties have only a few “stringy bits”, while others seem positively full of them. But just because they’re a little gross and slimy when raw doesn’t mean that they can’t be delicious (or otherwise useful). Stringy bits of pumpkin are apparently edible!

Many creative ideas for pumpkin guts call for pureed pumpkins. There is no reason that the slimy, stringy bits can’t be included in a blended puree along with some of the more solid pulpy flesh. Use a bit of filtered water and a high-powered blender or food processor to make a velvety puree that’s smooth as silk.

“You can eat the stringy bits, once separated from the seeds.”

How to Eat a Whole Pumpkin, by Katherine Martinko for TreeHugger

11. Pumpkin-sugar exfoliating body scrub

Make a pumpkin-scented sugar body scrub with your pumpkin puree. Blend those guts down with some coarse sugar and some honey, and your skin will be thanking you. Here’s a recipe for DIY Pumpkin Sugar Body Scrub.

12. Face mask

So pumpkin is good for the skin? Instead of making a body scrub, blend it into a face mask with some natural honey or ground coffee for texture. Try this Pumpkin Honey Brightening Face Mask DIY recipe from Ali at Gimme Some Oven.

13. Hair mask

What’s good for your skin is also good for your hair. Make a pumpkin hair mask to apply to your scalp in the shower. Your locks will be silky smooth after that: DIY Pumpkin Hair Mask from Rocky Mountain Soap.

Pumpkin guts in a white bowl

14. Pumpkin gut dog treats

There’s no reason Fido can’t partake in the merriment. Pumpkin is good for dogs so you can bake those guts into a delicious reward for your pup.

15. Pumpkin gut kombucha

Pumpkin ale has taken craft breweries by storm. There’s no reason that your homemade kombucha can’t get in on the seasonal action! Add some puree in with a bit of apple juice and fall spice for an autumnal fermented drink for your own gut.

16. Harvest pumpkin hummus

Homemade hummus is easy if you have a can of chickpeas and a blender. But make it special by adding those pumpkin guts. For bonus points, you can also pop some toasted pumpkin seeds on top for garnish. Wow – you have your life together!

Here’s my favorite pumpkin hummus recipe: Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus, from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum

17. Pumpkin walnut rigatoni

Feel free to incorporate your pumpkin into any creamy Italian dish, but this pumpkin-walnut rigatoni is a good place to start. Want to really elevate your meal? Use a smaller pumpkin cut in half and roasted as the edible bowl for your pasta dish. Extra points for the presentation!

Thick pulpy bits of pumpkin in a bowl

18. Pumpkin gut bisque

Speaking of dishes served inside pumpkins… It’s soup season, people! Look at this yummy Pumpkin Bisque in a Pumpkin Shell!

Whether it’s a thick pumpkin bisque or a thinner delightful broth-based soup you made with that veggie stock from earlier, your belly will be thanking you. For a bit of a twist on the traditional pumpkin bisque, try garnishing with sour cream and pumpkin seeds! Bon Appétit!

19. Pumpkin spice oatmeal

Dress up regular oatmeal with some of that pumpkin puree you made earlier. Add fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to really amplify your breakfast.

20. Pumpkin power balls

Have some more puree? Of course, you do. Pumpkin pie is delicious, but it’s overdone. These pumpkin-oat energy balls are made with pumpkin puree. And hopefully SLIGHTLY more healthy?

21. PSL

That’s right, folks. It’s the pumpkin spice latte. Pumpkin guts make a wonderful pumpkin spice latte! Use the stringy bits and pulp from scraping out the inside to make a homemade pumpkin puree.

Don’t spend all your money at Starbucks when you can make delicious pumpkin spice lattes at home. Put that puree to good use. Top it with some whipped cream and caramel sauce and it’s pure fall bliss.

22. Apple pumpkin cider

So you’ve just carved pumpkins, and you and your family are curled up inside on a crisp autumn day (preferably by a lovely fireplace, one hopes). Simmer those pumpkin innards in some water, then strain the guts and add some McIntosh apple juice and autumn spices to the pot. You and your family can share a delicious hot fall drink together.

23. Pumpkin burgers

Are any vegetarians in the house? Or just folks looking to eat more plants? Pumpkin burgers will spice up your life. Blend pumpkin guts with other veggies and a binder, and you’ve got a delicious patty.

24. Pumpkin pulp fries

Are you making those pumpkin burgers as we speak? Add some pumpkin fries. Slice and bake the thicker pulp just as you would regular old potatoes. Or as I assume you would. One day I will make my own french fries. One day.

25. Pumpkin butter

Bet you’re glad you saved that extra puree. Make pumpkin butter, and your toast will never be the same.

26. Pumpkin gut doughnuts

Use that pumpkin puree for some delicious baked doughnuts. Consider pairing it with some hot apple pumpkin cider.

Cut out shapes of pumpkin from jack-o-lantern carving

27. Pumpkin pulp stamps

The carved-out pulpy shapes from the Jack-o-Lantern are rarely used – and it should be that way! Remember those potato stamps you made in elementary school? Do the same with pumpkin!

Dip the discarded cut-outs in orange paint to make autumnal stamps. Add a few fall leaves and you’ve basically got fall fine art.

28. Add cut-out pulp shapes to puree

If fall art projects aren’t your jam, just add the cut-out pulp from carving to the mixture that’s cooking for your pumpkin puree. It can be roasted, stewed, or cooked in the Vitamix as it blends.

29. Compost

Anything left still? Like those bits of pumpkin skin with black marker on them? Add these leftover pumpkin guts to your fall compost.

Hopefully, you’ve got lots of lovely shredded autumn leaves right now to make into lovely leaf mold for your garden. Add any leftover pumpkin guts to your leaf compost for a nitrogen boost and to give the soil life a bit of fall flavor to work with!

Ways to use pumpkin pulp in the fall

‘Tis the season for pumpkin guts

Now you’re probably wishing you had bought more pumpkins! Sometimes the ideas for what to do with pumpkin guts are more intriguing than the actual pumpkin carving. Who knew?

Stringy slimy pumpkin guts and seeds
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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