• Sustainable Bartender

Pumpkin Skin Crisp Garnish

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

Pumpkin Skin is a long-overlooked ingredient in our bars and kitchens.

It sometimes gets thrown out because it takes longer to cook than the rest of the vegetable, but what

if you were able to use the entire fruit for your bar program.

Think about it, you have:

  1. the Flesh and Pulp which can be used as ingredients for cocktails,

  2. the Seeds which can be used as your bar snack,

  3. and the Skin, which can be used as a garnish for your cocktails.

It depends on what pumpkin you choose to use, but all pumpkin skins are edible. Some are tougher than others and therefore require more time to cook, but by using the following technique you can transform all of them!

The outer skin of the classic Halloween pumpkin is relatively soft compared to other squashes that you find on the market.

Although it is edible, it has a slightly rough texture that isn't super easy to chew. But if you bake it, it can be easily crushed into a powder or made into a delicate crisp that melts in your mouth.

What is a Sustainable Garnish?

A sustainable garnish is a garnish that does not contribute to food waste. So, a lime wedge on the rim of a Margarita DOES NOT COUNT, unless you are eating the entire thing skin, fruit, and pith! 😖

For a garnish to be sustainable, the most important rule of thumb to have is to make it edible.

If a garnish is edible, it can be eaten and therefore no food waste will be created from the cocktail.

To make sure that the garnish is NOT thrown out, it's important to follow these rules:

  1. Make it TASTY,

  2. Food-pair it with the cocktail,

  3. and make it visually appealing.

Tick all three and you've got yourself a great sustainable garnish that will surely not go to waste!


The things you will need for this recipe are:

  • Pumpkin Skins/Peels

  • Salt

  • Smoked Paprika (or some other spice)

  • Oil (olive or sesame work well)

  • Peeler

  • Dehydrator or Oven

  • Basting Brush

Part 1:

Peel-Off & Salt

Grab your pumpkin and make sure to give it a good wash. Always resort to buying organic, especially when you are using the skins of a fruit or vegetable.

Once washed and dried, peel off the skin using a peeler.

Make sure to peel off long strips so that you can have more choice of what size you want to make them. Slice them as thin as possible.

Cover the inside and outside of the peels with kosher salt and let them sit for 10 minutes.

This process is important for softening the peels. Once softened, they can then be cooked or dehydrated.

When the 10 minutes are up you'll notice liquid coming out of the peels. Dry each peel by patting them down with a cloth or paper towel.

Part 2:

Baste & Dehydrate

Once dried, pre-heat your oven or dehydrator to 100°C.

While it's preheating, make a spice mixture to spread on your peels to add flavor.

Grab a bowl and pour in some Sesame or Olive Oil and powdered Smoked Paprika.

For about 10 long peels, use about 1 TBS of Oil to 1 Teaspoon of Paprika.

Once combined, mix it up with a basting brush to make sure that the paprika is distributed evenly.

Baste each of your pumpkin peels on both sides delicately without spreading too much oil.

Finally, place a metal grill on top of the peels. Make sure that the bottom of the peels is facing down.

This is so that the peels don't curl up while they are dehydrating. If the curl up they will look like cinnamon sticks (which I don't usually like), but it depends on your personal preference.

I like to add extra weight on top of them so that they remain as flat as possible.

Let these sit for at least three hours, and once they are done remove them and pat them down with a cloth or towel to remove any excess oil from them.

Once they have cooled down to room temperature have a taste.

Smoky, salty, and savory. This is a snack that you can use in combination with your aperitivos or straight as a garnish for your drinks.

You can put it directly in a drink like you would an orange peel in an Old Fashioned, or place it on top of a coupe with or without a wooden peg holding it up.

If you want to go a step further, you can even grind it up into a salt-dust for your rimmed cocktails!

Enjoy! 🎃 Pumpkin Paprika Margarita


  • 50ml Reposado Tequila

  • 20ml Spiced Agave Pumpkin Syrup

  • 30ml Lemon Juice

  • Garnish: Pumpkin Crisp Salt Rim and Garnish

Fall in a Margarita, this cocktail is refreshing, pumpkiny, and with a slightly smoky flavor from the paprika. The best part is that it has an edible garnish that can be food-paired with the drink! To make the Spiced Agave Pumpkin Syrup, simply blend equal amounts of Sliced Raw Pumpkin with Agave Syrup and Water. ALL EQUAL AMOUNTS!

So for example you would do: 100g Diced Raw Pumpkin : 100g Agave Syrup : 100g Water Once Blended, let it cook over the stove for 20 minutes with some cinnamon. Once cooked, simply strain out the pulp and you'll have your Spiced Agave Pumpkin Syrup ready at hand!

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