Are Carving Pumpkins Edible?

Pumpkins go with Halloween and autumn just as peppermint goes with Christmas and winter. Whether it's seeing jack-o-lanterns on porches or those big plastic pumpkins at the front of many businesses, the green-stemmed orange fruits have well-established themselves as symbols of the fall season. But have you ever picked up one of these hefty gourds and thought to yourself, "Can I eat this?"

"Well, of course, you can eat it!" you may be thinking — and you wouldn't be wrong. If we couldn't eat pumpkins, how would we be able to enjoy pumpkin pie? We wouldn't be able to roast pumpkin seeds into crunchy, salty snacks or serve up a creamy pumpkin soup. With 149 million Americans set to buy pumpkins for the Halloween season to create jack-o-lanterns (via Finder), one can expect to see plenty of pumpkins getting used as both decoration and a healthy snack

You can eat a carving pumpkin but there's a caveat

Today, many people are trying to cut down on food waste so it makes sense to use up every bit of the average carving pumpkin. But how much of it is usable?

NPR decided to tackle this question, asking chef and food waste activist Dan Barber how to get the most out of a carving pumpkin. Barber explains that carving pumpkins aren't as particularly delicious as other pumpkin varieties, but still perfectly acceptable as an ingredient in purees and soups. His recommendation is that you should add plenty of sweeteners to improve the taste.

HuffPost also wondered whether or not you can eat the pumpkin, and received the same answer from Whole Foods produce buyer Travis Nordgren who says you can use the pumpkins for carving but don't expect the taste to be very good without some extra flavorings. "Carving pumpkins tend to have thinner walls that are more stringy, grainy and woody in texture ― which unfortunately doesn't taste very good," says Nordgren.

Registered dietitian nutritionist, Ginger Hultin, tells AllRecipes that there is one rule to always remember — the minute you set your jack-o-lantern outside, it's no longer edible. She says, "Insects, snails and slugs, squirrels and birds may enjoy crawling on or taking a bite of your [carved] pumpkin." Now that sounds like a trick rather than a treat.