Halloween is right around the corner, so your neighborhood is about to become blanketed in Jack o’Lanterns. But a pumpkin can be used for a lot more than this typical decoration: here are 8 more uses for pumpkins you need to know.
1. Salvage the Insides
How does pumpkin pie, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin butter sound? Delicious? Before you can enjoy any of those things, you need to salvage the insides of your Halloween pumpkin by whipping up some pumpkin purée. Chop your pumpkin in half, get a bowl, and scoop out the seeds and guts. Place your newly mangled pumpkin in a baking dish with the cut side down and bake it for about 90 minutes. You can freeze your pumpkin purée for several months, so you’ll have plenty of time to try out neat new recipes! If you need more detailed instruction, click here for a full guide to making your own pumpkin purée.
2. Separate the Seeds and Guts
Remember that bowl of seeds and guts you set aside? Get that bowl and separate the seeds from the guts. Rinse off the seeds and keep them in a zip-lock bag, because we’ll get to those shortly. Toss your pumpkin guts in a boiling pot of water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Strain out the solids and preserve the resulting broth. Try to add your pumpkin broth to soups and casseroles to make them more interesting and seasonal.
3. Brew Up Some Pumpkin Ale
Do you like to brew up your own creative beers at home? Take a shot at pumpkin ale for a delicious seasonal treat. Perfect your recipe with experimentation over a few weeks before inviting over your friends for some football, when you can unveil your masterpiece.
4. Feed the Birds
Your neighborhood birds would be happy to take some of that pumpkin seed off your hands. You could use this as an opportunity to buy or make a bird feeder to invite some beautiful new animal friends to drop by your house for a tasty snack.
5. Treat Your Skin to an Invigorating Facial Mask
Who needs to spend an arm and a leg for the spa treatment? Pumpkin pulp contains enzymes that can dissolve your dead skin cells, leaving you with smoother skin. You will also receive the benefits of a long list of nutrients that promote healthy skin including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, and more.
6. Make Your Own Halloween Candy
Would you like to make a delicious (and healthy) Halloween treat? All you need is some pumpkin seeds and honey! You could also make some pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin pancakes. Did your stomach just growl? Mine, too.
7. Plant Fall Flowers
Get a couple of large pumpkins, hollow them out completely, and fill them halfway with soil. You can then plant some colorful mums inside and put your festive decoration on your porch, walkway, or deck.
8. Chill Some Beers
Find a large and round pumpkin that is shaped like a bowl. Chop off the top 1/3 and scrap out the insides. Put a glass or bowl inside the pumpkin cavity, fill it with ice and voila, you have an amazing beer cooler to show off to your friends for the rest of football season. If you’re feeling super festive, go ahead and buy a 6-pack of pumpkin ale to store in your pumpkin cooler.
Do you know of any creative uses for pumpkins that I didn’t talk about here? Please feel free to tell me all about your brilliant ideas in the comments. Also, in the spirit of Halloween, enjoy this clip from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
More special uses of foods and drinks: 12 Special Uses for Beer You Never Knew