By Katina Provencal
Here some interesting ways to use up all those leftover pumpkins or the pumpkins you were using as decoration.
I cook my sugar pumpkins and puree them like I would if I was making a pie and then freeze in a freezer bag flat. Doesn’t take up much space and is ready to use when you need it for a recipe. You can also cube, cook, and freeze.
You can also use a dehydrator to make pumpkin chips, pumpkin jerky, pumpkin fruit leather, pumpkin chews for your dog, or grind into pumpkin powder. Pumpkin powder can be used to make pumpkin pies, add pumpkin for flavoring to baked goods or pasta dishes or add to your coffee, smoothie or ice cream.
You can always do some baking (pumpkin breads, muffins or cookies) and freeze for another time. Or baking for week might include pumpkin pie, pumpkin custard, pumpkin butter, or some pumpkin dog treats. You could also make a pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili or roast the pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin pancakes are always a big hit or how about giving pumpkin fries a try.
On the farm broken open pumpkins make a great treat for chickens or wildlife like birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. Horses, sheep, goats, and pigs find them palatable. Cows will even eat the pumpkins and “plant” the seeds for you for next year’s harvest. Composting the pumpkins may also lead to plants you can transplant in the spring. This year I have been trying to dry my own seeds for next year’s crop. Pumpkin seeds are easy - soak in water overnight, dry on a paper towel for a few days until hard, and then store in a paper bag or canning jar.
Lastly, how about using pumpkin for a spa day. Make a pumpkin face mask by mixing 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp milk, and 2 tbsp pumpkin puree. Slather on your face, leave on for 15 minutes, wash off. Treat your skin to a pumpkin scrub by mixing 1 tbsp sugar with 2 tbsp pumpkin puree. Scrub skin and rinse. Condition your hair with pumpkin puree and honey by mixing 1 tbsp honey to 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. Apply to scalp and hair, leave in 15 minutes, rinse.
Don’t let any of those pumpkins go to waste!