Pumpkin Uses – What To Do With Pumpkins From The Garden

Pumpkin Uses – What To Do With Pumpkins From The Garden

By: Amy Grant

If you think pumpkins are just for jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie, think again. There are many ways to use pumpkins. While the aforementioned are practically synonymous uses for pumpkins around the holidays, there are many other ways of using pumpkins. Not sure what to do with pumpkins? Read on to learn about creative pumpkin uses.

What to Do with Pumpkins After the Holidays

The tradition of jack-o-lanterns came to the U.S. via Irish immigrants (though they were actually turnips rather than pumpkins), and while it is a fun and imaginative project, the end result is often tossed out after a few weeks. Instead of throwing the carved pumpkin away, cut it up into pieces and leave it outside for our feathered and furred friends to snack on or add it to the compost pile.

Ways to Use Pumpkins in the Kitchen

Pumpkin pies are fantastic, as are pumpkin cheesecakes and other pumpkin related desserts. Many people use canned pumpkin, but if you have access to fresh pumpkins, try making your own pumpkin puree to use in these treats.

To make pumpkin puree, cut a pumpkin in half and remove the guts and seeds, but save them. Place the cut end down on a baking dish and bake for 90 minutes or so depending upon the size of the pumpkin, until you can squeeze it some and there is give. Scoop the cooked pulp from the skin which can then be discarded. Cool the puree and then use it in a myriad of desserts, pumpkin butter, curried pumpkin soup, or package it and freeze for later use.

Remember those seeds? They can be laid in a single layer on cookie sheets to dry and used as bird seed or roasted in the oven with salt or other seasonings for human consumption. If you plan to feed them to animals, leave the seasoning off.

The guts saved from making the pumpkin puree can also be used. Just simmer it in water for 30 minutes and then strain the solids from the infused water. Voila, you have pumpkin stock, perfect for thinning out a pumpkin based or vegetarian soup.

Other Uses for Pumpkins

Pumpkin may taste great in many recipes, but it also has nutritional benefits. It is high in vitamin A and C, and rich in zinc and other nutrients. These nutrients are good for the inside of your body, but how about the outside? Yes, yet another way of using pumpkin is to make a mask with the puree. It will help dissolve dead skin cells, resulting in glowing, smooth skin.

Other pumpkin uses include making the squash into a bird feeder, a beer or beverage cooler, or even as a flower planter. There are certainly many other ways to use pumpkins, only limited by your imagination.

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Painted Pumpkins

Painted pumpkins are an easy way to get that Halloween-feel in your home, without carving. You can also rescue your pumpkins before they start going bad and turn them into a pumpkin pie—Something you can’t do with a carved pumpkin.

The Galaxy on a Pumpkin


Bring the galaxy into your home by painting a pumpkin with your favorite constellation. This is a great DIY pumpkin painting project for celebrating autumn when the nights are longer, and the stars are visible for longer.

Pour-Painted Pumpkin Fun

Pour painting is a very popular form of art right now, and pumpkins are part of the painting phenomenon. This project is a great way to add some fun and vivid colors to your home and your Halloween decor.

2. Pass Along Your Pumpkins

Don't want to deal with the pumpkins yourself? No worries! There are plenty of places that may take them off your hands. See if you can donate leftover pumpkins to zoos, animal shelters, farms, or community gardens. They'll be grateful for the compost material or animal snacks. Look local some towns do a pumpkin collection drive after Halloween, and some farms put out calls for local pumpkin donations. Organizations like Scarce and Pumpkins for the People also have drop-off sites where you can take your old pumpkins, and then they'll compost them to keep them out of landfills.

10 Unusual Uses for Those Fall Pumpkins

While many families buy pumpkins to carve for Halloween or to place on their doorsteps, there are many other uses for the cheerful-looking gourds.

Does it seem as if pumpkins are everywhere this time of year? You could be right. Although they are native to Central America and Mexico, pumpkins now grow on every continent (other than Antarctica).

American farms grow more than 1.5 million pounds of pumpkins each year. The top states that produce pumpkins are California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

While many families buy pumpkins to carve for Halloween or simply to place "as is" on their doorsteps, there are many other uses for the large, cheerful-looking gourds.

Here are 10 uses for your fall pumpkins:

1. Food (That Isn't Pie)

Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, but pumpkins can be used in many other foods. Try pumpkin ravioli or pumpkin soup, for example. Pumpkin is rich in magnesium and iron, and it contains more fiber than kale and more potassium than bananas.

2. Facial Cream and Cleanser

Pumpkin contains beta-carotene zinc potassium vitamins A, C, and E and antioxidants — all of which are good for your skin. You can make your own skin cream by mixing 2 tablespoons of pumpkin purée with 1/2 teaspoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of soy or almond milk. If you'd like, you can add a drip or tow of your favorite essential oil, such as soothing lavender, to the mix.

3. Flower Vase

Instead of just using pumpkins as part of your centerpiece, make them your centerpiece. You can create an attractive pumpkin vase by clearing out the pulp and seeds from a large pumpkin. Then place a bowl or a glass inside the pumping and fill it with water. Arrange fall flowers and branches inside the bowl or glass.

5. Serving Bowl

Make attractive fall tureens out of pumpkins. Once again, first remove the seeds and scoop out the pulp. Then fill the pumpkin shells with your favorite fall soup and serve. You can also use it as a bowl for punch or for cider, if you prefer. (Just be sure to put a bowl or liner inside to prevent contamination between the pumpkin and whatever you're serving.)

6. Cooler

You can also fill a scooped-out pumpkin with ice and use it to keep cans and bottles of beverages cold at a party.

7. Planter

Pumpkins and mums just go together. This year, why not use a pumpkin as a planter for your mums? You can place a potted mum or other colorful fall plant inside a fry, scooped out pumpkin. Add some raffia or moss, and you have a quick and easy fall decoration for your porch, patio, or deck.

4. Candle Holder

You can use mini pumpkins to hold votive candles this fall. Simply carve the pumpkins and remove their seeds. Then place a votive candle inside. You also can add a wick and your own melted wax, if you prefer.

8. Address Marker

Here's a cute idea for your driveway entrance or stoop. Use paint or permanent marker to write your house address number across a large, dry pumpkin. Adorn the numbers with colors, and be as creative or as simple as you wish.

9. Dog Food

If your doggy is having stomach problems, try adding a scoop of pumpkin to your dog's regular food. The dietary fiber in pumpkin can help cure both constipation and diarrhea.

10. Bird Feeder

Don't forget your feathered friends when it comes to fall decorating. Choose a small to medium pumpkin and scoop it out. Pierce holes around the perimeter and then use rope or twine to hang it up to a tree branch or a plant hook on your porch or balcony. Fill with birdseed and enjoy the view once birds recognize the treat inside.

Fresh pumpkins will last several months and even longer of stored in the refrigerator. Air should be able to move freely around the pumpkin to prevent moisture and mold from building up.

Once you have cut the pumpkin, store it in the refrigerator and aim to use it within two to four days.

About Tricia Drevets

About Tricia Drevets

Tricia is a contributing writer. She enjoys gardening and doing all sorts of backyard projects with her family in beautiful Southern Oregon. She is a freelance writer and editor for a variety of print and online publications as well as a community college instructor.

14 delicious uses for Halloween pumpkins

Before using your Halloween pumpkin, you should wash it thoroughly to remove any pesticide residue since most Halloween pumpkins are not grown organically. You may also wish to remove the pumpkin’s skin, which is quite easy to do once the pumpkin is cooked.

Here are twelve delicious uses for Halloween pumpkins that are WAY better than putting them in the trash:

1. Roasted pumpkin seeds.

The first step to reducing food waste starts when you carve your jack-o’-lantern. Pumpkin seeds can be scooped out with a spoon, tossed with a little olive oil and salt, and baked or wok-fried to create a healthy and delicious snack.

2. Make pumpkin puree.

Fresh pumpkin puree ready for recipes. This is SO much better than canned pumpkin!

After you’re done using your jack-o’-lantern as a decoration (and you’ve removed the seeds for eating as per tip #1), you’ll want to make pumpkin puree.

Obviously you’ll want to do this before your jack o’ lantern is showing signs of spoilage. Whole pumpkins can be stored for many months, but once they’ve been carved, they should be used within a few days.

On Tyrant Farms, we have detailed instructions showing you how to roast pumpkin seeds AND make pumpkin puree.

3. Pickled pumpkin rinds.

It may sound a bit odd at first, but pumpkin pickles are actually really tasty. They’re a great way to preserve a lot of pumpkin if you have too much to use before it spoils or your freezer is already full of pumpkin puree.

4. Bake a pumpkin pie.

Our adorable niece waiting for a pumpkin pie to cool at Tyrant Farms.

When most people think of eating pumpkin, they typically think of the classic American pumpkin pie. Nothing wrong with that, since pumpkin pies are delicious and can even be pretty darn healthy as well (watch the sugar and use a whole grain pie crust).

Use your homemade pumpkin puree with this pie recipe.

5. Make your own pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin spice lattes contain almost no pumpkin. And at $5/cup, a month’s worth of pumpkin spice lattes would cost you $150.

Instead, why not make your own pumpkin spice lattes using pumpkin puree from your jack-o’-lantern? Make your own at home with this easy recipe.

6. Make pumpkin chili.

Pumpkin chili is a delicious and seasonal way to warm up on a chilly fall day. We can say with certainty that this pumpkin chili with turkey and black beans recipe is amazing.

7. Dehydrate your own pumpkin pie leather.

Another great way to use up your pumpkin is to make pumpkin pie leather aka pumpkin fruit leather.

They’ve got the flavor of pumpkin pie but are great for on-the-go, making them an excellent seasonal snack for kids. If you don’t already have one, we highly recommend getting an Excalibur dehydrator to make these and other dehydrated treats.

8. Bake some pumpkin bread or muffins.

Homemade pumpkin bread or muffins are sure to be a hit at any fall gathering, especially if you toss in a few chocolate chips!

9. Share pumpkin with your animals.

If you don’t like pumpkin or really feel you can’t use all of yours, you may want to share some with your pet.

Many animals such as chickens, pigs, and even dogs can have pumpkin. Just be sure to do your research or talk to your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.

10. Pumpkin butter.

You’ve probably had apple butter before, but pumpkin butter is also a tasty way to use your excess pumpkin.

Pumpkin butter is quick to make and can be eaten on toast, crackers, or frozen for later use.

11. Make homemade ravioli.

You can replace butternut squash with pumpkin in any squash ravioli recipe you find on the web.

12. Make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast (or dinner).

Pumpkin for breakfast? Dang right. Disappearing whole wheat pumpkin spice pancakes will have you and your kids scrambling for a seat at the breakfast table.

13. Pumpkin coffee cake

Speaking of breakfast, the best coffee cake we’ve ever had is this fall harvest coffee cake with apples and pumpkins. This treat is far better than any trick. (Oof, that was bad.)

14. Celebrate with pumpkin champagne

Our friend’s Tony and Andrea and their amazing pumpkin champagne (technically sparkling wine).

Ok, people from the actual Champagne region of France would stone us if they heard us calling a sparkling wine made from American pumpkins “champagne,” but this pumpkin sparkling wine can at least dress up as champagne on Halloween.

Halloween pumpkins are an oft-overlooked source of food waste. Rather than treating them purely as a throw away holiday decoration, utilize them as the nutritious, delicious, history-rich food that they are.

We hope the creative uses for Halloween pumpkins outlined above provide you with delicious food, save you money, and help keep food out of our landfills!

So how are you going to use your jack-o’-lantern this year?

Watch the video: Pumpkin - What can you eat?