Pumpkins are the symbol of the autumn season, from Halloween all the way through the end of November with Thanksgiving. But once Halloween comes and go, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to dump your pumpkin (or the insides of it) in the trash!
I am all about upcycling and reusing pretty much anything that can take on a second life – and that goes for pumpkins too! Plus, who doesn’t love a fun, creative project to work on?
Here are a few ways to put your pumpkins to good use this fall season!
#1 – Create a pumpkin planter. Hollow out the guts of the pumpkin and create a beautiful fall planter out it. Choose to use fresh cut flowers, a bunch of mums or an artificial bouquet and use a smaller vase that fits inside the pumpkin base to get the water fresh and the flowers upright. Add some ribbon and some candle to accent the piece and nothing will create the “wow” factor at your holiday dinners and parties than a spectacular fall centerpiece!
#2 – Roast the seeds. Clear out all the seeds from the inside and rinse all the pumpkin flesh from them. Let them dry. Coat your baking sheet with aluminum foil and if you wish, a thin layer of olive oil cooking spray. Spread seeds into one layer to allow for even baking. Next…the sky’s the limit for the flavor possibilities! For plain seeds, try a little butter and some salt. For a sweeter flavor, use some brown sugar and cinnamon. Or for something zestier, maybe go for Worcestershire sauce and some garlic powder. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until they are golden brown (flip half-way through baking). Enjoy!
#3 – Offer it as snack to your local wildlife. No need to let unused pumpkins or the insides go to waste! If where you live is anything like northeast Ohio, you hopefully have an abundance of wildlife right in your own backyard. The leftover pumpkins and flesh insides are great snacks for the deer, if you have any in your area. Or add the pumpkin seeds to your bird feeders in the yard and you will start having happy visitors coming by your home for a tasty treat.
#4 – Add pumpkin to your beauty regime. Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E…pumpkin is full of delicious healthy ingredients, so incorporate this beneficial gourd into your beauty regime with an autumn-time facial scrub. The ingredients could not be easier: puree some of the pumpkin flesh and add some milk to make it creamy (to your liking), a dash of honey and a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar to offer an exfoliating texture to it. Apply to your skin and let sit for 15-20 minutes to soak in all the yummy vitamins while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or even better…a pumpkin spice latte!
#5 – Use it for entertaining. A hollowed out pumpkin makes the perfect bowl – it’s round, sturdy and waterproof. Incorporate pumpkins of any size into your autumn entertaining ideas. Try adding a bucket of ice and placing a couple of bottles of wine into it is the perfect way to have it serve has a wine chiller. Or make some pumpkin dip and use a smaller pumpkin as serving bowl. Mini pumpkins could also double as tea light candle holders to create an ambiance around your home.
#6 – Cook & bake your heart out. I feel like this one is a no-brainer. Something about the fall time and chilly weather always puts be in the cooking mood. Lucky for me, there are millions of recipes out there for delicious baked goods and side dishes incorporating pumpkin. Pies, breads, soups, butters and spreads – the recipes and ideas are endless. I’m really looking forward to taking a stab at homemade pumpkin butter this year. With all the parties and wonderful meals that are sure to be coming your way this season, bring along a pumpkin dish to share with loved ones AND use up all the left-over pumpkins!
These are just a few of my favorite ways to make sure my extra pumpkins don’t end up useless in the trash! What are some ways you like to use your pumpkins in the fall time? Do you have any favorite recipes you love using? I’d love to hear your ideas below!