Ever wonder how you could make further use of the pumpkin you carved or decorated, besides throwing it in the trash when the holiday has passed? Ever wanted to try your hand at recycling the pumpkin pulp and seeds somehow? Read on for some creative and unique seasonal ideas!
- The pumpkin pulp you scoop out in anticipation of that jack-o-lantern can be used in many ways. There are, of course, the delicious standbys like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. But how about tasty beverages, such as spiced pumpkin cider, or a homemade version of Starbucks famous pumpkin spiced latte? Also, visiting trick-or-treaters don’t need to be the only ones who get a treat this holiday season. If you’re really ambitious, try baking up some pumpkin doggy treats! See The Recipes
- Use the pumpkin seeds for various things as well. Slather them with butter and salt then roast them in the oven for a yummy snack. If you’re artsy, you can use dried out seeds to decorate things like picture frames, mood boards, or cards. You can also use them as enrichment items for your local wildlife. Birds and small mammals love them. To attract more takers, mix with black oil sunflower seeds.
- A fun thing to try is to use your un-decorated pumpkin as a seed holder/bird feeder! Hang your pumpkin with some twine, and punch holes in the bottom for rain drainage. The birds settling in for the winter will thank you!
- This idea is best when using a decorated pumpkin rather than carved. If the innards haven’t yet been scooped out, do that, setting them aside for further use as suggested above. Then, use it as a potted plant holder! It will add some color, and some seasonal cheer. *Just remember, keep it inside so as not to attract critters who would otherwise try to eat it! *
- Once the holiday is over you can distribute chunks of your pumpkin across your backyard or wooded area. This will attract small mammals such as squirrels who will love it for a treat. It will also naturally biodegrade. *Just remember not to do this with any pumpkin that you have painted, decorated, or otherwise treated*.
There are also ways you can extend the life of your pumpkin/jack-o-lantern – especially if you want to use it for something like a potted plant holder. You can do this not only for your decorated pumpkins, but also ones left in their natural state.
First, wash the pumpkin with a vinegar/water mixture; one part vinegar to 10 parts water works well. This will help destroy any lingering bacteria and fungi that tend to facilitate decay. Then let it dry. If you are painting your pumpkin, do that now, and let dry again. Then apply vegetable or olive oil to the entire surface. This will not only make your pumpkin look shiny and new but will help preserve it by sealing out moisture.
You know those mini pumpkins you see in the stores this time of year? They’re not actually pumpkins, but gourds, but they sure do look Halloween-y! They aren’t edible – they’re mostly decorative – but they can be used in a way similar to a bread bowl. But instead of containing soup, they contain a seasonal dessert, such as an apple crisp!
Just hollow the gourd out, as you would a pumpkin when making a jack-o-lantern. Then bake whatever dessert you prefer (I love the apple crisp idea) and serve it using the mini-pumpkin as your bowl. What a great addition to the dinner table! Not only as a food item, but to add to the holiday theme of your meal.