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8 Uses for Pumpkins You Need to Know

8 Uses for Pumpkins You Need to Know

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.” 

 

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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