Living in one of the major pumpkin-producing states, I’m no stranger to pumpkins. We turn pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween and continue using pumpkins to decorate until after Thanksgiving. At the end of the fall season, we’ve accumulated quite a few. Instead of simply throwing them away, we prefer to reuse our leftover pumpkins. Before they start to rot, put your surplus of pumpkins to good use.
Make a Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree can be used in everything from baked goods to warm beverages like lattes or spiced tea. While larger pumpkins are edible, the smaller ones with smooth-textured flesh are more flavorful and better for baking. To make pumpkin puree, scrape out all of the seeds and stringy flesh from the center of the pumpkin. Chop the pumpkin into sections and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Peel off the skin and mash the pumpkin into puree. A food processor or blender can get the job done quickly.
Donate Them to Farmers
Just because you don’t want to eat your leftover pumpkins doesn’t mean someone else can’t. Consider donating your unwanted pumpkins to farmers to feed their animals. Pigs especially love the taste of pumpkin, even those that are a little shriveled. Donating leftover pumpkins can save farmers money and provide animals a change of pace from their normal feed. Pumpkins also contain several key nutrients that actually help moisturize a pig’s dry skin.
Create a Facial Treatment
Use your leftover pumpkins to make a nourishing face mask. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, pumpkin gently exfoliates the skin while protecting against common problems like age spots and wrinkles. To create a basic pumpkin face mask, combine ¼ cup pumpkin with a whole egg. Apply the mixture to your skin and let it sit for 20 minutes. The result is a firmer, brighter, and smoother complexion.
DIY Floating Candle
Do-it-yourself floating pumpkin candles can create a stunning centerpiece for your dining table. For this project, you’ll need several miniature pumpkins that measure 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Cut a small hole in the top of each pumpkin and fit a tea light or votive candle inside. Fill a wide-mouthed bowl with water, light the candles, and float the pumpkins.
Add to a Compost Bin
While uncarved pumpkins can be turned into pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds, most jack-o’-lanterns end up in the garbage. Instead of throwing your carved pumpkins away, compost them. Begin by removing any candles or wax from the inside of the pumpkin. Choose a sunny spot outdoors for your pumpkin to compost. Smash it into a few pieces and cover it with a layer of leaves. Over time, worms will turn your pumpkin into nourishment for the soil.
Use as a Bird Feeder
Pumpkins of all sizes can be transformed into bird feeders to give the feathered friends in your neighborhood a place to feast. Cut a pumpkin in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds and fibrous strands. Create perches inside the pumpkin by inserting twigs into the walls. Fill the pumpkin with bird seed and hang it from a tree or post.
Bury for Nutrients
If you have decaying pumpkins sitting around from Halloween, reuse them for your winter garden. Simply bury your pumpkin in your yard or garden in an area that could use the extra nutrients. The pumpkin will continue to decay naturally while releasing essential nutrients into the soil.