When Halloween comes and goes, what do you do with all those jack-o-lanterns and decorative pumpkins? The obvious choice is to use them in delicious recipes. However, carved pumpkins start to quickly spoil after sitting out for 24 hours, making them potentially unsafe to eat.
However, there are so many other clever ways you can use your pumpkins this season. Check out these clever tips!
- Use the flesh inside to whip up a pumpkin puree. Cut the pumpkin down the middle, scoop out the seeds and guts, place the pumpkin cut side down in a baking dish with a cup of water and bake for 90 min, until the flesh is tender, then scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Use the puree in your favorite dishes… it will last several months in the freezer!
- Use a carved or uncarved pumpkin to make a planter, adding a little natural beauty to your landscaping! Pack the pumpkin with soil and plant annuals in it. After enjoying this fun decoration for a few days, you can then plant the whole thing right in the backyard, where the pumpkin will naturally compost and provide fertilizer for your plant.
- The sticky stringy pieces gluing the seeds of your pumpkin (pumpkin guts) can be used to make delicious pumpkin stock. After salvaging the seeds from these guts, boil the guts in water with other unwanted vegetable pieces for added flavor. Boil at least 30min until the water begins to change color. Strain the stock and compost the vegetable pieces. Reserve the broth for use in soups or casseroles and you can freeze the extra for later.
- With their rich supply of zinc, vitamins A, C, and E, pumpkins are greats for the skin! Make a pumpkin face mask. Mix 2 tsp of pumpkin puree with 3 tsp of brown sugar (a natural exfoliant) and a tiny splash of milk. Apply in a circular motion to the face and let soak for 20 minutes. You will smell like a dream when you are done!
- Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious in your fall recipes. Separate them from the guts, rinse thoroughly, place in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet and stir well so they are well coated. Add salt or brown sugar as a garnish and use in hour desserts, salads, or enjoy as a healthy snack.
- Feed nature with your pumpkins. They are perfect food for deer and the seeds will be relished by the birds. Cut the pumpkins into pieces and place away from your house in your backyard for the deer. The seeds can be placed right inside your birdfeeder.
- Turn your pumpkin shells into festive serving bowls at your next dinner party! Simply place your hollowed-out pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush the insides and the tops with a little vegetable oil, and season as desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, and voilà! They are ready to serve your favorite soups or dips and can later be tossed in your compost pile after the party is over!
- Try making a pumpkin cocktail out of pumpkin puree. For the grownups, fill a shaker with ice, and add a tablespoon of pumpkin purée and two ounces of the flavored vodka of your choice, such as vanilla, cinnamon or ginger. Add a splash of lime juice and a tiny squeeze of honey. Shake and strain into a glass over fresh ice. For kids, try it in a tasty pumpkin pie flavored milkshake. Combine two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a half-cup of milk, three tablespoons of pumpkin purée and a teaspoon of cinnamon in a blender.
This season, why not apply the premise of RE-USE AND RECYCLE to our Halloween pumpkins too?!