Hey parents, we know you are getting primed pumpkin season—but what can you do with them before, during and after Halloween? Here are a few of our favs for making good use of what you score from the pumpkin patch.
Make pumpkin puree’. Buy a few extra pumpkins and bake them up for their stellar nutritional value. Simply cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the “stringy stuff and seeds” and set them aside. Place the halves onto a shallow baking dish containing a cup of water. Bake at 300 degrees for 90 minutes. Let them cool, and then scoop out the soft, cooked pumpkin, leaving the skin behind. Take the pumpkin and puree it in a blender or food processor. Pumpkin puree can be refrigerated in an airtight container or placed in a zip loc bag and frozen until needed. Never use a previously carved pumpkin for this purpose, as it may contain mold or bacteria.
What can you do with pumpkin puree’?
Use it in recipes instead of canned pumpkin. Here is one of my all-time favorite recipes. My mother used to make pumpkin bread for our an after-school treat. Hazel’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Make a soothing and nutrient-rich face mask. Beauty is a snap with a pumpkin puree’ face mask. Combine 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons raw sugar and a teaspoon of milk. Massage the mask onto your face in a circular motion. The sugar exfoliates, and the pumpkin will nourish your skin. Trust me, your face will glow from all the vitamins and minerals! (That’s why jack-o-lanterns smile!)
Treat your pup! Pumpkin is wonderful for our canine friends. Pumpkin is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber for your dog. The addition of pumpkin will help your pet with digestion problems such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, and constipation, and the fiber will help with weight loss. Be sure to add it in gradually with dry kibble.
Oven roast those seeds. Get started by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Remember those seeds and “guts” from pumpkin carving? Now we’re going to use them. Rinse the pumpkin seeds thoroughly and separate them from the “stringy” stuff. Next, put them into a pan filled with salted water (I like to use seasoned salt and use a tablespoon of it for every 2 cups of seeds) and boil them for about 10 minutes. After boiling, throw them in a colander, drain, pat with a paper towel and cool. Next, take the dry seeds and lightly saute’ in a shallow pan with olive oil and transfer onto a shallow baking sheet. Keep an eye on them, stirring frequently until they are golden brown. Cool and enjoy!
Plant a pumpkin. Save a few seeds and let the kiddos plant a few in the spring and see what happens. Be sure that you have enough room for the plants to vine and sprawl. Maybe next year the pumpkin patch will be in your own backyard?
Make a pumpkin vase. Pumpkins make wonderful seasonal vases or planters. Mums in the fall look spectacular when planted inside a hollow pumpkin, just fill the pumpkin about 2/3 of the way with soil and plant the mum as you would in a flower pot. In addition, an autumn table is the perfect place for a pumpkin vase filled with fall flowers or trimmed branches of colored leaves. Just scoop out the pumpkin, fill with water and drop a $7 grocery store bouquet in it—and your table will look fab.
Okay, there you have it. But knowing how brilliant you guys are, I’ll bet you have even more great ideas to share. Post your genius pumpkin ideas with us and we’ll pass them on to other families, okay pumpkin?