Let’s talk pumpkin! Their name comes from the Greek pepon meaning “large melon,” and refers to certain cultivars of squash that are spheres, with smooth skin and are usually orange but can also be yellow, white, green or red. Native to North America, pumpkins are scientifically a fruit since they contain seeds, but they are often referred to as a vegetable.
Pumpkins are a warm-weather crop and fall just wouldn’t be the same without them! The plants have both male and female flowers that are typically pollinated by bees to produce the thick shelled fruit with rigid, prickly and angular stems. They vary in size with the average weighing about 12 pounds, however in 2010, the world record was 1810 pounds.
Pumpkins have many different uses in addition to their culinary side, so let’s take a look at some of the ways you can incorporate this garden gem into your life:
1. Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene-rich antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and works wonders on the face and skin.
PUMPKIN FACE MASK
2tsp pumpkin puree
1tsp brown sugar
Combine and then apply to face avoiding eyes and relax for 10-15 minutes then rinse with warm water. Enjoy your nourished and conditioned face!
PUMPKIN BODY BUTTER
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c solids from a can of coconut milk
Mix ingredients and apply generously to clean skin, massaging gently to work well into the skin. Allow to remain on for 10 minutes or so, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
2. Pumpkins can double as a vase. Cut off top, remove pulp and seeds, then place a container filled with water inside filled with a bouquet of fall flowers.
3. Create floating pumpkin candles using miniature pumpkins from the farmer’s market. Carefully cut out a circle from the center to fit a votive candle, then float in a bowl surrounded by a grapevine wreath as a fall centerpiece on a coffee table.
4. Make a pumpkin planter for your porch. Use a carved or an uncarved pumpkin and plant a colorful mum inside in potting soil for a festive decoration that can later be planted in the garden. Plant the whole thing before your first frost – the pumpkin will naturally decompose and provide fertilizer for the plant.
5. Recreate the scent of pumpkin pie by carving round holes in the sides to vent in a hollowed out small pumpkin and rubbing spices onto the inside of the lid. Add a tea light candle and this pumpkin incense burner will fragrance your home for about six hours!
6. Pumpkins are a tasty snack for furry or feathered friends if you live in the country. Cut into fourths, remove seeds for the birds and place away from the house as perfect food especially for deer.
Note: If using pumpkins indoors, use chlorine bleach and wash them well to remove dirt and make them last indefinitely!
“All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.”