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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

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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