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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

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


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Why I Chose Human Ecology

I grew up in small town rural Manitoba so when I decided to move to the big city to attend university, it was a really big deal. When I was in high school, I really liked my accounting class so naturally I started off with classes that were needed as prerequisites to major in Accounting at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business. As luck would have it, I happened to sign up for Dynamics of the Fashion Industry as an elective and I absolutely loved it.

It seemed fitting that I loved Human Ecology because just the Faculty building alone is enough to make you want to stay forever. It just has a friendly warm feeling to it, all of the professors are so friendly and know you by your first name and back in the day, they had the comfiest pink chairs up on third floor that I always wished I could take home with me.

The other reason why I loved Textile Sciences was because I grew up with my Nana teaching me how to sew. When I was born, I was diagnosed with Thrombocytopenia Absent Radii Syndrome, which means I am missing the radius in both of my forearms that makes my arms shorter. So whenever I would get a new shirt or sweater or jacket, my Nana would have to tailor it to make the sleeves shorter. Eventually, she taught me how to sew and some of my favourite memories are sitting in front of her old Singer in her sewing room learning from her years of experience.

After I was accepted into the Faculty and I started pattern development, it never occurred to me that I might have limitations in that class. My instructor asked to meet with me before classes started and she was so accommodating and helpful when there was something that I needed. I had to work twice as long as all of the other students to get things done but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I really like what possibilities Textile Sciences can have. I find functional clothing fascinating. For my final project, I engineered a pair of wheelchair accessible pants that were made for someone who was always in the seated position instead of the standing position. I like things to have purpose and to help out if they can. The four years that I spent studying Textile Sciences were some of my favourite years I have ever experienced in my life and if I could go back and learn it all over again, I would.

Christen Roos is a graduate of the Faculty of Human Ecology with a major in Product Development from the Department of Textile Sciences. She is currently a store manager for a local men’s workwear retailer specializing in Canadian outerwear. Her passions include finding functional clothing for a specific desired end use, raising awareness to people living with disabilities and being obsessed with makeup. Her Feel Good, Look Good outlook on life is her way of finding the positive things in life that make her heart smile.

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Know Your Veggies – is it a sweet potato? A yam?


I love fall and I’m really looking forward to having the fall season instead of what usually happens… sometimes we get summer, then one to two days of wearing cardigans and then, voila, snowstorm in October! So I’m vowing to make the most of autumn and enjoy my outdoor activities in the gorgeous fall setting.

Fall changes the way I think about cooking. My fresh salads from the garden, bruschetta and corn on the cob days are pretty much over but my roasted zucchini, pasta sauce and squash days are just starting. As I was looking for recipes and fall menus I remembered learning about sweet potatoes from Mairlyn Smith last year at the Manitoba Association of Home Economists Conference. Do you know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? Is your grocery store advertising them properly? I can tell you my regular grocery store definitely does not! Mairlyn gives a few recipes and a very clear explanation of the difference. Check out her post to make sure you are making an informed decision! The most interesting thing is that sweet potatoes are (fairly) local and yams are not.

As a professional home economist, Meghan Rafferty works full time as a Policy Analyst for the provincial government and works part time as a skating coach and clinician. Meghan is the Director of Public Relations for the Manitoba Association of Home Economists (MAHE), MAHE representative on Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba and a Chair of the Skating Programs Committee for Skate Manitoba. In her spare time, Meghan keeps training for her next half marathon, loves zumba, reading and playing in her garden.

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