Pumpkins and Jack ‘o Lanterns – Edible or Not?

It’s pumpkin season and people are asking…

Can we eat these big pumpkins?


Yes! You can eat the seeds and the flesh of big pumpkins as long as they haven’t been carved and sitting around. Those big pumpkins may not be as sweet as the smaller “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”, but you can still use them for everything from roasted veggies to oatmeal, to soups, loaves and pies. Pumpkins are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant), vitamin C and potassium.

Can I eat these Jack ‘o Lanterns?


No! Once you carve ‘em, don’t eat ‘em! Within 2 hours of being carved their bacterial load may be too dangerous to eat. Don’t take the chance. And besides, think of all the soot that’s been deposited by those candles flickering on the inside of those pumpkins.

Instead, consider buying an extra pumpkin just for eating or try decorating your pumpkins without carving, so you can use them as decoration and as food! Decorate your pumpkins with string, gauze, pipe cleaners, craft paint, markers, felt pieces, nuts and bolts, buttons, duct tape, Mr.Potato head pieces or other odds and sods you have lying around the house.

One pumpkin will go a long way in making all those delicious pumpkin recipes we’ve come to love.

Not sure how to make homemade pumpkin puree from a pumpkin, check out these links:

How to Make and Freeze Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkins, More than Just Decorations

Storing Pumpkins and Other Winter Vegetables

How to Cook Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Winter Squash Recipe Collection

Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener. For more articles, recipes and tips on Making Home Cooking Easy and Enjoyable visit her blog at www.gettystewart.com.

Funding for this article provided by the Canadian Home Economics Foundation.