17 Mind Blowing Uses for Pumpkins
Aaah... another successful night of trick or treating. The kids are asleep - their tummies full of candy, and you finally have a moment to breathe. Only the next morning, you see the pumpkins sitting outside your front door. What are you supposed to do with them now? Here are 17 ways to use your pumpkins when Halloween has come and gone.
1. Whip up some pumpkin purée.
So... you're staring at the carved pumpkin, thinking, I guess I'll throw it away now. Don't toss it just yet! You can make pumpkin purée out of it. Simply cut your pumpkin in half and place it cut-side down in a baking dish with one cup of water. Bake until the flesh is tender - about 90 minutes. Then, take out the flesh and purée it in a food processor. It's super easy!
2. Make a pumpkin planter.
Carved or uncarved, this is an excellent use for that pumpkin that's lying around. Buy some annual flowers, and use the pumpkin as a planter! The pumpkin will act as a compost as well, providing fertilizer for your plant.
If the top of your pumpkin is already cut off, simply add potting soil until it's about one-third full (carved pumpkins may need extra packing to keep the dirt from falling out of the holes). Insert the plant into the pumpkin and fill it with more soil.
3. A face mask.
Pumpkin? A face mask? Do those two things really go together? Yep.
Pumpkins are full of zinc and vitamins A, C and E, making pumpkin purée healthy whether you eat it or apply it to your skin. Check out Pinterest for some great DIY recipes!
4. Make a pumpkin seed dish.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a fall classic, and there are tons of ways to use them. If you saved the seeds from when you carved the pumpkin, rinse them and place the seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Then, stir the seeds around to coat them with the oil.
From here, the possibilities are practically endless. Add salt, some brown sugar, or add seeds to the outer layer of candied apples. If Halloween has left you "sugared-out," the seeds can also be used as salad garnishes.
5. Pumpkin butter.
Breakfast wouldn't be complete without pumpkin butter! Simply measure two cups of pumpkin purée and add to a saucepan. Add one cup of brown sugar and a cup of water or apple cider. From here, feel free to add spices of your choosing, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.
Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. Once cooled, store the butter in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It's perfect for toast, biscuits, pancakes, and oatmeal!
6. Sugar scrub.
The sugar scrub - a timeless addition to your skin care routine. Pinterest has endless DIY recipes, and a pumpkin sugar scrub is among them. If you aren't interested in making your own, check out our pumpkin spice scented sugar scrub here. Even though there isn't actual pumpkin in it - it smells amazing and is super moisturizing without feeling greasy.
7. Stuffed pumpkins.
Have you ever heard of a stuffed pumpkin? They're pretty genius, actually. All you have to do is cut off the top, take out the seeds and guts (which you probably have already done if the pumpkin is carved), and bake the pumpkin for 20-30 minutes, or until the flesh becomes soft. After that, you're free to stuff away! Casserole, soup, cornbread, quinoa - whatever your heart desires!
8. Pumpkin fries.
Come again? Pumpkin fries? Uh, yes please.
Using a potato peeler, remove the pumpkin's skin and cut into fry-like strips. Coat with the spice of your choice and place the fries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice.
I know, crazy right?
10. Bird feeder.
These bird feeders are not only adorable, but they attract even more adorable visitors as well! The instructions are as follows:
Cut a 3- to 5-pound pumpkin in half. Scoop everything out, leaving a 1/2-inch thick wall.
Cut a 1/2-inch-deep groove in the rim for pumpkin seeds.
For perches, poke holes and insert twigs.
To hang, knot two lengths of twine together in center; tack knot to feeder bottom.
Fill with birdseed.
11. Make your own pumpkin spice latte.
Not in the mood to drive in rainy weather or spend the money for a pumpkin spice latte? Don't worry - I've got you covered! Pinterest and Google have tons of recipes for pumpkin spice lattes. And the best part? You can do it from home with a roaring fireplace and with the sweet scent of your fall scented candles wafting in the air. Check out this recipe here.
12. Save them for your Thanksgiving table.
Thanksgiving costs enough already, what with ingredients for the dozen different recipes and all. Using the pumpkins you bought last month, there's no need to break the bank with table decorations. According to Steve Reiners, a Cornell University horticulturalist, "an uncarved, healthy pumpkin can last 8 to 12 weeks."
13. Make pumpkin snowmen.
Pumpkin snowmen may seem strange at first, but why not start early on your winter decorating? Or, if you'd like a little extra cash for Christmas presents, try selling them on the Internet or to friends and family.
14. A candle holder.
If you have a small pumpkin that isn't being used, why not make it into a candle holder? All you have to do is remove the stem (make sure the top is smooth or evenly indented) and place a votive candle where the stem had been. Voila!
15. Front porch decorations.
I'm sure you've seen the hundreds of photos on Pinterest of front porches decorated with pumpkins. If your front porch isn't already decorated, why not go for it? Who knows, if you take a photo of it and upload it to Pinterest, it could go viral!
16. Arts and crafts for kids.
The fun doesn't have to end after carving pumpkins with the kiddos! If you saved the seeds from carving, toast them and dye the seeds with liquid watercolors or food coloring and let the little ones use them for arts and crafts. Plus, you can also use them to help your kids practice their counting and sorting skills.
17. A wreath.
Decorating your porch doesn't have to end with pumpkins. If you have some left over that simply "didn't go," visit Pinterest for some creative ideas on pumpkin wreaths.
How do you like to use your pumpkins? Leave a comment and let us know!