Don’t toss the edible pumpkin

Sarah Komisky

Fall is here and it’s the time of the year which the season’s favorite orange fruit, the pumpkin, gets the spotlight. Once the face is carved and its round figure has been admired, people should think before tossing him into the trash.

With hundreds of pumpkins being sold in markets and pumpkin patches across the U.S., the tale of the Halloween pumpkin resembles that of the Christmas tree. Once it’s had its thirty days of fun, its life is over. Markets and patches discard the pumpkin while the average person throws his away. So why not celebrate this festive holiday squash through baking and enjoying all it has to offer?

“I think it’s better to use the pumpkin for baking than just throwing it away,” Marie Payne, 20, nursing said. “Usually we buy a pumpkin but it just sits outside the front door, and if we are feeling courageous we will bake a pumpkin.”

Payne has experimented with pumpkins over the years and has baked pumpkin bars, pies, and has toasted the pumpkin seeds. “I made pumpkin ravioli in my Italian cooking class,” she said. “Some people were kind of weirded out by it but I thought it was delicious.”

Others like Britney Foster, 20, sociology, choose to skip buying a pumpkin altogether.

“I don’t want to waste my money,” Foster said. “If I did buy one I would say to make something out of it by baking. I have never baked anything out of pumpkin, but if I knew how, I would.”

Foster also agreed that shopping for a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch was more fun than purchasing one at the market.

Elizabeth Greene, 22, psychology, was unaware of baking pumpkin, admitting to seeing friends toss remains of their jack-o-lantern.

“Our family doesn’t celebrate Halloween but I’ve been to friends’ houses where friends have carved it and tossed it,” Greene said. “I have never heard of people saving the pumpkin. I think that’s pretty cool.”

Greene believes that if the pumpkin is edible, then it’s better to use it. Her only problem is that she wishes she could get her hands on more recopies.

“If recopies were more accessible and it was a fall, hanging out with family type of thing, I would do it,” Greene said. “Maybe if people knew you could do things with pumpkins and if there was a ‘how to’ with pumpkins like on the side of a Rice Krispie box my mom would be down with that.”

Lisa Inlow, Saddleback food instructor enjoys cooking with pumpkin since it isn’t too sweet and celebrates the holiday in her home by using pumpkin as a tradition.

“I pick a couple things to make using pumpkin,” Inlow said. “I always make pumpkin soup and serve biscuits with them as well as pumpkin butter.”

Inlow also advised autumn bakers to use sugar pumpkins with gorges as the best quality pumpkin to cook. Her tips to use pumpkin include making tarts, roll cake, and bread pudding.

These treats should please families and friends alike, and can be served throughout autumn.

How to Cook Your PumpkinBy: Selma Komisky Make sure the pumpkin is clean and carve open the top and remove the stem, seeds, and membrane. Put seeds to the side and cut pumpkin in half. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place pumpkin face down onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake pumpkin for an hour until soft and let cool. Once pumpkin is baked and cool cut it in sections. If you have a food processor or blender put pieces of cooked pumpkin inside and puree until it’s smooth in consistency. A medium size pumpkin will yield 4-5 cups of pumpkin puree. Pumpkin Cookies and Cream INGREDIENTS:1/2 cup butter, room temperature 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 1/4 cup molasses 1 egg 1 cup pumpkin purée2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 cup milk PREPARATION:In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Stir in the pumpkin purée. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir flour mixture into the creamed mixture along with the milk. Blend thoroughly but do not over beat.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for about 12 minutes, until set. Cool for a minute; remove to racks and continue to cool. Serve cookies with cool whip and enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen pumpkin cookies.