Five Unusual Uses for Pumpkins
Carving jack-o’-lanterns is an obvious way to use the pumpkins you pick up this month, but don’t stop there. Pumpkins are a versatile gourd you can have all kinds of fun with. Here are five cool things to do with them.
Create a potpourri burner. Using a small variety like a Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut off the top, scoop out the inside, then carve circles into the sides and lid of the pumpkin. On the underside of the lid, rub cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then insert a few whole cloves. Set a tea light inside—when it’s lit, the spicy scent will last for up to 6 hours.
Carve a cooler. Throwing a party? Slice off the top third of a large pumpkin. Scoop out the insides, then place a bowl inside the pumpkin or smear Vaseline on the inside and cover it with plastic wrap. Fill it with ice and beverages.
Make your own pumpkin purée. It’s easy. Cut your pumpkin down the middle, then scoop out the guts and seeds. Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with a cup of water and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. You can use the puree for everything from pies to pancakes, even cocktails.
Feed your skin. Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, which makes it good for your skin. For an easy DIY facemask, mix five teaspoons of pumpkin purée with three teaspoons of brown sugar (which will naturally exfoliate your skin) and add a splash of milk. Mix it together and apply to your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for up to 20 minutes and rinse.
Roast the seeds. Rinse seeds well, coat with oil and popcorn salt, then bake in a single layer. Pumpkin seeds can be used as a crunchy outer layer of candied apples, an addition to brownies or garnishes for salads.