There are usually two ways that homeowners use pumpkins for decorations—the ones they empty to carve into jack-o-lanterns and the ones they leave whole to create a timeless fall look. Even though carved pumpkins can’t be eaten after 24 hours due to bacteria formation, both whole and carved have better destinations than your trash.
So what can you do with your pumpkins after Halloween? Here are some ideas to keep them out of the garbage (and the neighbor’s backyard):
Off the stoop and into the kitchen:
Pumkinpatchesandmore.org reports that pumpkins provide 53% of your daily vitamin A, 20% of your daily vitamin C, and over 500mg of potassium. So why not cook it? Take your whole pumpkins and scoop out their insides. The seeds quickly and easily become a tasty (and healthy) snack. You can find recipes for pumpkin
seeds here. You can use the slimy, stringy guts in soups, breads, and pies. Check here for pumpkin bread and muffin recipes. If your pumpkin is a little too far gone, leave it in the back yard for local wildlife—they will
happily eat the extra nutrients.
Make a stylish flower planter: You can make your own biodegradable flower planter from either a whole pumpkin or a carved one! Just fill the pumpkin with soil (make sure the insides are scooped out first), and place your plant right in the middle. When the skin starts to get too soft, move it into your garden or backyard and plant the whole thing, pumpkin included. Your flowers will thank you!
Make a beautifying pumpkin mask: All that vitamin A and C isn’t good for just your innards! You can create a simple facemask by following these easy steps from earth911.com:
1) Make a pumpkin purée by cutting and roasting your pumpkin until soft.
2) Scoop out the flesh from the skin and blend until creamy.
3) Add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar (to exfoliate your skin) and stir until well mixed.
4) Stir in a splash of milk.
Voila! A mask that will taste good AND make your skin glow!
Serve it up: Use the skin and flesh of your pumpkin as a serving dish or bowl for soups and
stuffing! Cut your whole pumpkin in half and gut it. Roast it in the oven at 350° F until soft and then put any food you want inside the hollow. Your new dishware will add festive flare to your table and flavor to your dish!
P.S. Your pumpkin doesn’t serve as just a dish for people. Stephanie Lynn, author of the SL Under the Table and Dreaming blog, says “Use the empty shells to create a bird feeder!” Click here for an easy pumpkin DIY
When in doubt, COMPOST IT: So maybe your pumpkin is a little rough around the edges and molding on the bottom. That doesn’t mean you can’t make good of it! Pumpkins will add nutrients such as iron and zinc to your compost pile, or your garden.
Pumpkins are an all-natural decorative and tasty fall treasure—make sure you get full use out of them. Furthermore, if you didn’t get enough of them this year, bury leftover seeds and you can start a pumpkin patch of your very own!