One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting food.
Whether we are talking meal leftovers, cooking/baking scraps or veggie stems and leaves, I hate throwing away food. Of course there are times when food spoils or you have some sort of scrap or leftover that you just can’t use. But aside from those moment, I do my best to waste less food.
Part of this passion comes from my parents who always guilt-tripped me into eating my veggies by saying “there are kids in the world who don’t have food” or “when I was your age we didn’t have food.” And now as a parent, I want to teach little Poppy the importance of wasting less, being mindful of using ingredients efficiently and ultimately respecting the food which we are so fortunate to have and eat.
Currently we live in an age where restaurants are booming, food has taken a center stage, and the farm to table and nose to tail movement is trending. It’s truly a great time to try different ingredients, cook innovative recipes and experience new foods. But with this said, I still think there is an opportunity to waste less.
According to UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and the World Resource Institute, in the US alone, 30-40% of food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. That’s a crazy amount of food! Granted I am not perfect but my stance is that as long as I am trying, that’s what matters.
So with this in mind, does anyone else always have this problem – I get super pumped to try out a new pumpkin recipe, perhaps from Pinterest. But of course the recipe calls for less than a 15oz can of pumpkin puree. So after finishing the recipe I am left thinking “what am I suppose to do with this leftover pumpkin before it spoils!?”
After years of being left with a little pumpkin puree here and there, I’ve compiled my favorite go-to ways to use up leftover pumpkin.
10 Ways to use up leftover Pumpkin Puree
- Freeze it – Pour your leftover pumpkin in small Tupperware or better yet in an ice tray. Once frozen, pop the pumpkin cubes out and store them in a zip-lock bag in your freezer. Then use up the pumpkin in any of the ideas covered in this post. Simply pop them out of the freezer and defrost on the counter or in the microwave. If using an ice tray, each cube is about 1 tablespoon.
- Add it to your pancakes or waffles batter – Try my Pumpkin Spice Pancake or these Pumpkin Waffles.
- Add it to your chili – Make your favorite Chili recipe and add anywhere from a tablespoon to a cup of pumpkin. Your Chili will turn out creamy, rich and nutrient packed.
- Blend it in your smoothie – Throw 1 cup of milk (I like vanilla almond), ½ cup Pumpkin Puree, ½ frozen banana, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, a heaping 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend it up and enjoy!
- Make muffins – Try my Pumpkin Oat Muffins. These make a healthy breakfast or snack!
- Mix it into your yogurt – I love mixing a large dollop of pumpkin puree into my Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a little pumpkin pie spice and topping it off with crunchy granola. (Pardon my 5am phone photo below)
- Make pumpkin oatmeal – Try my Crock pot Steel Cut Oats. Once you are ready to eat your oats, stir in ¼ cup of pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. And to add crunch, top it off with chopped nuts, granola and a drizzle of maple syrup. Don’t forget if your oats were refrigerated, splash in a little milk in order to loosen up the oats and heating them up in the microwave or stove top.
- Sip a Pumpkin Latte – Do you get crazy excited when the Starbucks brings back the Pumpkin Latte? Give it a try at home. I promise it’s easy and delicious. The best part is you can make it year around. Here is an easy step by step recipe from TheKitchn.
- Add it to your Red Pasta Sauce – Add a tablespoon or 2 to your next tomato pasta sauce with or without meat. It will make it extra creamy and amp up your veggie intake.
- Make Pumpkin Granola – With just ½ cup of pumpkin puree you can make a spicy pumpkin granola with deep flavor and an addictive crunch. Plus it’s got lots of healthy nuts, seeds and grains. Check out this recipe from one of my favorite blogs Twopeasandtheirpod.com.