HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Don't throw away your Halloween pumpkin just yet. There could be a hidden treasure inside that holiday decoration that you don't even know about.
Many of you have probably already thrown your pumpkin away, but if you haven't, don't.
Chef Mark Herndon of Buckhead's says there is great taste inside those orange gourds. Just don't use your Jack O' Lanterns.
"Not carving that pumpkin that's been sitting out on your porch for three weeks or has that candle wax smell about it. We really want to take and utilize those pumpkins that have been whole," Herndon said.
Mark has a few tricks up his sleeve to prepare pumpkin seeds.
"I find an ice cream scoop does well, it has a sharp edge to it," he said.
Then put the seeds in water. That'll help you get rid of the membrane easier. Dry the seeds well.
"You'll get a better browning if most of that water is off of there," he said.
Here's where Mark's plan probably differs from yours. Coat a skillet with olive oil. Then skip the oven and save 20 minutes!
"Only takes 5 minutes but you have to stay with them," he said. "A nice golden brown is what we're looking for here."
You can season with just salt -- or get a little gourmet. Mark makes also uses pumpkin pie spice and sugar, or a spicy cajun seasoning.
But don't throw out the rest of the pumpkin. If you make your own pumpkin puree you'll be ready for the next holiday.
"We're about three weeks away from Thanksgiving, it'll be perfect to go ahead and have your puree ready for the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving," Herndon said.
Cut out the meat of the pumpkin in chunks and lay it on a greased pan and wrap with aluminum foil to cover it.
Bake for one hour, then another 1/2 hour uncovered. Then blend it in a food processor and freeze it.
"I've put the two side by side and you get such a great flavor from the fresh pumpkin," he said.
And you'll be able to brag at the Thanksgiving table that your pies are truly homemade!