Pumpkins and gourds are a prominent symbol of harvest season and a sign that autumn has begun. But what if your garden has produced more than you know what to do with? While carving jack-o’-lanterns and making pumpkin pie are age-old traditions, there are plenty of other fun ways to make use of your extra crops.
Secure gourd garland across the mantel or place it around your table centerpiece as the perfect fall decoration. Gourd garland can also be used to decorate outdoors: Drape the garland across a fence or hang it from a tree. Martha Stewart has instructions for how to make your own gourd garland using miniature gourds, twine, and a drill with a small bit.
Pumpkin Bowls and Platters
Pumpkins are fairly resilient, so they can stand in as a solid serving platter or bowl. Slice a pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. With your cleaned-out pumpkin, serve soup, stew, chili, or other family favorites. Mini pumpkins can also be used to serve individual portions. Larger pumpkins can also be cut and emptied out to use as do-it-yourself platters. Pumpkin platters are great for cookies, muffins, and other baked goods, as the dish will infuse extra pumpkin flavor into the food.
Create something tasty with your pumpkin harvest. Pumpkin isn’t just for pie: It can be added to plenty of other recipes, even savory ones. For instance, try adding cubes of fried pumpkin to curries or risottos. Don’t throw away the inside of the pumpkin, either: The seeds can be eaten raw or roasted for a crispy treat, and the guts can be used to make homemade pumpkin puree.
- Pumpkin Nut Bars
- Pumpkin and Fried Sage Flatbread
- Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Facial Masks and Scrubs
Pumpkins are rich in alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and fruit enzymes. When applied to the skin, they have been found useful in smoothing and brightening it and increasing cell turnover. Pumpkins also contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Fresh pumpkin can be added to homemade facial masks and sugar scrubs for beautiful autumn skin. One Green Planet has five easy ways to use pumpkin on your skin.
Did you know that cooked fresh pumpkin can be beneficial to your pet’s health? With approval from your vet, consider adding some pumpkin to your pet’s diet. The dietary fiber found in pumpkin can be especially helpful for dogs and cats suffering from diarrhea. Just a few spoonfuls added to your pet’s usual food can help absorb the excess water in its stool. Fresh pumpkin can also aid constipation problems, as the pumpkin fiber can work to soften your pet’s stool and soothe an upset stomach.
Fall gourds make simple and natural bird feeders that the feathered friends in your neighborhood will love. Before you can use a gourd as a bird feeder, you will need to dry and clean it out. It can then be decorated and hung from a tree or post. The Spruce has step-by-step instructions on how to cure your gourds and turn them into all-natural bird feeders.