I have something to admit, I am a pumpkin addict. I love all things pumpkin, so much so that I spent 30 minutes in Trader Joes this week searching for all their pumpkin goodies. I was on a mission people, I actually had to laugh at myself when I looked at my cart. If only Trader Joes in PA sold beer I’d have some pumpkin beer in there too.
Now that I’ve gotten my pumpkin food fix I started to think about all the other things I could do with my leftover pumpkins. I’m not talking about carving…some interesting “out of the box” ideas that could help the environment, nature and my family. Here are 5 uses for pumpkins that I’ve either tried myself or will give it a go this year.
Pumpkin Puree – Why buy canned pumpkin puree when you make your own. It’s just as easy as roasting a winter squash, because…it’s the same thing just a different kind. Slice that baby down the middle, scoop out the guts and seeds (save for later) and roast in a 400 degree oven for about an hour or so until the flesh is cooked through. All depends on the oven and size of the pumpkin. Once it’s cooked through let it cool a bit then scoop out the meat and place in a blender with a bit of water (but not too much) Blend and then freeze for pies, cookies, breads, pancakes, ice cream, cakes and so much more. I place my puree in baggies and label it with the amount of cups and date frozen.
Pumpkin Mask – Get pumpkin pretty by making a DIY face mask. Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E which makes pumpkin puree healthy for your body. All you need is about 5 teaspoons of pumpkin puree, 3 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1 drop of carrot seed oil, 1 drop of cinnamon bark oil, 3 tablespoons raw honey. Blend well and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Apply to your face avoiding eye area and relax for 20 minutes then rinse well. Store the remaining mask solution in the fridge for 1 week.
Feed Nature – After Halloween is over you can throw it in the compost but you could feed those furry creatures nearby. Depending on where you live those little Jack-O-Lanterns would be perfect for deer and other animals, don’t forget about the seeds because birds love them.
Make a Cocktail – There is nothing better in fall or really anytime of year than a good cocktail. I love this Pumpkin Martini and would be perfect for Thanksgiving evening. I think you’d only need one but then again Thanksgiving is for unbuttoning those pants so what the hell, have two!
Make Broth – You’ve use pretty much all the pumpkin, but what about those guts. All those stringy bits attached to the seeds. Don’t throw it away, make pumpkin stock. Put all those guts in a pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and add other veggies such as onions, carrots, celery plus rosemary and thyme. Boil for 30 minutes until the water changes color. Strain and then freeze for soups and casseroles. I love putting my broth in ice cube trays which makes it easier when adding to dishes.
So, those are just some of my ideas for pumpkins. Got any of your own? I’d love to hear them because I have a zillion pumpkins sitting around the house which will NOT be thrown away.