When your jack-o’-lantern has lost its luster, toss it in the food and yard waste cart. Not the recycling bin. Photo: Waste Management

When your jack-o’-lantern has lost its luster, toss it in the food and yard waste cart. Not the recycling bin. Photo: Waste Management

A Gardener’s Diary: What will you do with your pumpkin after Halloween?

Gardening columnist offers myriad of options to get rid of your jack-o’-lantern

A Gardner’s Diary

by Jocelyne Sewell

Have you ever wondered where all the pumpkins disappear the day after Halloween?

Some will rot on somebody’s stairs or in the compost, but mine will be used for baking and substitution for the rest of the year.

Create puree from the fresh pumpkin. Clean the pumpkin of seeds (reserve for roasting) and string and cut in half, top to bottom.

Then bake cut side up in a pan about 375F to 400F. Time depends on the size of the pieces, cook until they get soft enough. Let cool and then scrape flesh from skin and purée in blender or processor.

Other ways to cook pumpkin is; to steam it or boil and strain, but it might make the puree too loose. To give a more roasted flavour, brush flesh with butter or oil and roast flesh side up; no foil.

Keep in mind the larger pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns are more stringy, watery and will need to be cooked down.

You are better off using smaller pie pumpkins. I use the large ones for stewed pumpkins with a bit of water, sugar, nutmeg, cloves and lemon slices. Delicious.

Low in both calories and fat, pumpkin is also a good source of Vitamin A, B6, C, and E as well as a treasure trove of minerals.

Therefore, pumpkin purée is a healthy substitute for eggs in a variety of baked goods. Add 1/4 cup canned pumpkin for each egg called for in the recipe.

Pumpkin can be a substitute for oil or butter in baking. For oil, the ratio is one to one – one cup oil is simply replaced with one cup pumpkin purée.

To substitute pumpkin puree for butter, multiply the amount of butter by 3/4. If a recipe calls for one cup, use 3/4 cup puree in its place.

If you’re not ready to give up all the butter, and in some recipes, you cannot, consider splitting.

For one cup of butter, use 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree. In recipes that call for butter and sugar to be creamed or fluffed up, definitely split the use of butter and pumpkin and fold in pumpkin after creaming.

In boxed cakes you can substitute the oil, water and egg with pumpkin puree.

When making pancakes, you can substitute an equal amount of puréed pumpkin for the liquid. But try not to substitute for more than 1/2 of the recipe’s liquid ingredients. You can do the same for cream sauces, smoothies, cheesecakes.

The substitutions are only with puréed pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.

The deer have been taking shortcuts on the banks and uprooted some of my plants. They have made a mess in the flower beds.

For the first time, they ate the pumpkin plant leaves and all the sunflower blooms.

Website https://www.almanac.com/content/deer-resistant-plants has lots of advice to fight deer.

Deer tend to turn their noses up at fragrant plants with strong scents. Herbs such as sages, ornamental salvias, and lavender, as well as flowers like peonies and bearded irises, are just “stinky” to deer. Would you want to eat something prickly? Neither do deer, unless they’re desperate.

Plants such as lamb’s ear are not on their preferred menu. They never touched the geraniums but pruned the Saskatoon berry bushes.

They don’t like the smell of garlic so I will plant some and many hyacinths that are so fragrant to replace some plants on the banks and will move some oregano and lavender.

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan.

garden life