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Transforming a plain old pumpkin into a jack-o’-lantern is one of the highlights of Halloween. But there are many other ways to make use of the orange gourd after the holiday has passed.
Some of these ideas help you extend the life of your used jack-o’-lantern, while others require you to utilize a fresh pumpkin. All of them will put you in a festive fall mood.
Following are five ways to use a pumpkin this autumn that go well beyond carving.
1. Make pumpkin puree
Remove the seeds and pulp from the center of your pumpkin and scoop out the flesh for fresh pumpkin puree.
You can find instructions for making homemade puree at The Pioneer Woman blog. At the site, Ree Drummond writes:
It’s around this time of year that I start storing up pumpkin puree in my freezer, in approximately one-cup quantities. Aside from the obvious use in pumpkin pie, it comes in handy for pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin dip, pumpkin cookies (and) pumpkin butter.
2. Roast the seeds
Few fall treats are more delectable than roasted pumpkin seeds. The Kitchn blog offers a dozen ideas for using seeds, including as a garnish for soups or salads, or even as a seed sauce.
Organic Authority has tips for roasting seeds properly and also details the health benefits of this snack:
Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds are a guilt-free treat since they are full of health benefits. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have benefits to the skin, hair, and nails. The healthy fat has also been linked to improving artery, cholesterol, and brain health.
3. Create pumpkin flaxseed dog biscuits
Your kids already love Halloween, so why not introduce your pup to the joys of this fun holiday? Use the puree you created in Step 1 to whip up pumpkin flaxseed dog biscuits. You’ll find the recipe at the White On Rice Couple blog.
Worried about feeding pumpkin to your pooch? Don’t be. In fact, it’s among the best “people foods” you can give your canine companion. According to PetMD, the nutritious fruit can help support urinary and digestive health as well as weight management. (And, yes, pumpkin is a fruit!)
4. Use pumpkin as a beauty treatment
Pumpkin facials, anyone? Treehugger suggests using pumpkin to beautify your skin. According to the website:
The humble pumpkin is packed with skin-loving nutrients like antioxidants, zinc, vitamins A and C, fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids. Pumpkin flesh can help to nourish, brighten and smooth skin, as well as boost collagen and help tame the signs of aging, according to the International Dermal Institute. So it’s time to squish some squash on the body.
Try any of their 10 beauty treatments based on leftover pumpkin.
5. Turn a used pumpkin into a bird feeder
Grab your binoculars and get ready for some birdwatching! Martha Stewart says you can stretch your jack-o’-lantern’s lifespan by turning it into a bird feeder. Slice the pumpkin in half, then cut holes and insert twigs to give the birds a place to perch. Finally, fill the gourd with bird seed.
You can also simply use the seeds to feed birds. The National Wildlife Federation offers the following advice:
Collect seeds from your pumpkins, before composting them, and let the seeds dry. Please don’t add salt or seasoning. Place seeds on a flat surface, tray, shallow bowl, or mix in with existing bird seed in your garden.
Do you have other ideas for using pumpkins? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.