10 Creative Uses For Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds
The Pumpkin, although appreciated most in the autumn, has so many other uses other than that of the obvious Halloween decoration or Thanksgiving pie. With just a bit of thought, this cousin to the cucumber and gourd has so much more potential.
1 – One of the more favorite uses for the pumpkin by home brew enthusiasts, is Pumpkin Wine and Beer (or Ale). A few micro breweries have taken advantage of Pumpkin Beer, making it available starting in early September; however, a simple google search can provide anyone with endless sites listing instructions for how to make home made pumpkin beer and wine.
2 – The pumpkin is perfect for baking — and not just pie. Bread and Brownies are easy enough to make, and when made with pumpkin, can be a tasty, inexpensive snack which is both nutritious and low in calories. Add some oatmeal to the mix, and you have perfect way to eat bran and iron, with the scrumptious taste of Pumpkin.
3 – After the pumpkin is carved out and otherwise used (with the top sliced off), don’t throw it away; you now have a perfect start to make a Candle/Lantern. Not allowing the pumpkin to become soft or squishy, bake it to hardness, and gloss the outside with an inexpensive bottle of clear paint from any craft store. For a candle holder, place wick in center and carefully fill the pumpkin bowl with hot wax.
4 – Pumpkin Butter, Cream, and Spreads have been a favorite alternative to butter for many who are avoiding unwanted calories from dairy. Not only are pumpkin spreads delicious, but are healthier than cream cheese and butter, and cost less.
5 – You wouldn’t think that pumpkins would make a good Body Scrub, but in fact they do. The pulp, rich in Vitamin A, combined with brown sugar, olive oil, and any essential oil of choice, makes an excellent exfoliant, while providing a soothing, light scent to the skin.
6 – In addition to pulp, pumpkins produce seeds. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, seasoned with garlic or onion salt, are a perfect topping to a salad, adding just a bit of crunch. The seeds can also make a nice in-between-meal snack, instead of that late afternoon chocolate bar.
7 – A larger-sized carved, cleaned, baked, and glazed pumpkin can make a very seasonal Center Piece for any holiday table. After glazing, arrange artificial flowers; a glue gun can assist with covering the lip of the pumpkin with leaves and berries to suit your home’s decor. If so inspired, the outside of Pumpkin Vase can be stenciled/painted.
8 – One of the more recent uses for the pumpkin, has been for a Decorative Bird Feeder. For this project, the usual cleaning, baking are required. When the pumpkin has been sufficiently hardened, protect the outside with a weather-proofing gloss or paint. Line the inside with waxed paper. An inexpensive plant hanger can be purchased to hang from a tree, or simply place in a clay flower pot for the patio birds.
9 – The remains of a used pumpkin, if not contaminated with paint or wax, is a perfect food source for birds, squirrels, even deer. During the colder months, it is harder for these outside animals to find food; they’ll appreciate the small kindness of finding your used pumpkin for them to feed on. If you don’t have furry critters around your home to feed, the same used pumpkin can be an excellent source of compost for the garden.
10 – Finally, while this use of the pumpkin is not embraced by all, it has certainly become one of the more popular uses in some colder zip codes. The end of summer activities does not mean that outside fun has to end; in fact, the Pumpkin Catapult season has never been more trendy than in the past few years. Entire communities, especially in the northeastern states, have been very successful in organizing Pumpkin Catapult Festivals.