Did you buy too many pumpkins? Maybe you carved only a few of them for Halloween and have a couple left over. Sure, they make great fall decorations, but if you want to use those pumpkins for something other than eventually making a mess on your porch, here are three ways to use the whole pumpkin before it’s too late.
Roast the Seeds
Making something really delicious isn’t always easy, but roasting pumpkin seeds? That’s incredibly easy. After you scoop the guts out of your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the flesh. (But don’t toss the flesh – we’ve got something planned for that next.)
Rinse the seeds, toss them with your favorite oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and place them in a pan or on a cookie sheet in the oven. Peninsula Pulse Editor Debra Fitzgerald recommends 350° F for 10-25 minutes. Check and stir the seeds occasionally because you’re aiming for the just-right spot between too chewy and baked to a crisp.
If you’re looking for something sweeter, substitute sugar and cinnamon for the salt and pepper. Really, any of your favorite spices will work here, so try a few things.
Flesh Your Flesh
With the seeds removed, there’s plenty of useful flesh left over, and it’s chock full of enzymes: a great ingredient to put in homemade face masks! Pumpkins contain alpha hydroxy acids and other fruit enzymes that help to speed up cell regeneration; both vitamins A and C, which help keep the skin supple and soft; and zinc, which helps to reduce acne and heal the skin.
There are a lot of different ingredients you can use to make a pumpkin mask, but this recipe also includes apple cider vinegar, which is a detoxin and reduces inflammation. It’s recommended to use the finished mask two or three times a week, and it can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days.
You’ll need about ½ cup of the pumpkin flesh, 1 raw egg, ½ teaspoon of honey (raw is best) and ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor until it’s smooth. Then add the egg, honey and apple cider vinegar, blending one more time to combine. Store the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Apply the mask to a clean face, and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse it off thoroughly and finish your skincare routine.
From Death Comes New Life
Now all that’s left of your leftover pumpkin are the skin and stem. Add the skin to your compost pile, and look forward to healthier soil next spring. If you’re planning to compost the pumpkin without doing either of the previous activities, however, just be sure to remove all the seeds beforehand, or you might have a pumpkin patch waiting for you in the future.
And the stem? I saw an article about turning it into pasta, but that’s a little too culinarily adventurous, even for me. Do you have a good use for it? Let us know!