4 Budget Friendly and Efficient Ways to Use Pumpkins
In the fall, it seems like pumpkins are a dime a dozen. Not literally, but this is the time when pumpkin farms are overflowing, craving to get pumpkins from their patch into your home. Take advantage of the last minute price drops by efficiently using pumpkins for recipes and decorations.
Here are some simple and efficient ideas for using pumpkins in the fall time.
Source: Rob Galloway (CC BY 2.0)
1. Pumpkin Puree
The base of all those wonderful pumpkin recipes we’ve been waiting all summer for! When you make your own pumpkin puree, not only are you saving money, you are also ensuring the puree is entirely pumpkin. Most pumpkin purees that have “100% Pumpkin” blazoned across the label, contain winter squash and is higher in caloric content than making it at home. Now, there’s nothing with squash, it’s just not pumpkin!
Even though the pumpkins are sold at cut-rate prices, don’t spend more than you need to. Any pumpkin can make delicious puree that you can use as a base for pies and lots of other recipes.
Cut the pumpkin in half, clean out the goop and seeds with an ice cream scoop, and cut the halves into chunks. Bake until a knife slices through the meat easily. Let cool, and when you pick up the chunks, the skin will peel right away. Put the skinless chunks into a food processor or blender to puree. Blend until smooth. The puree will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks, you can also freeze it to use year-round. Simply place the puree into freezer safe bags or containers and lay flat for compact storage.
If you want to use your puree right away, try mixing together a pumpkin milkshake or making delightful pumpkin pancakes!
Mix a ½ cup of puree, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream, ½ cup of milk
and a pinch of cinnamon for a quick and luscious treat.
Using your go-to pancake batter recipe, make as needed,
then fold in the pumpkin puree (6 tablespoons per 6 pancakes)
seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Source: justgrimes (CC BY-SA 2.0)
2. Pumpkin Seeds
When scooping out the insides of a pumpkin, discard of the goop but make sure to save those seeds. They are chock full of nutrients that benefit your heart, liver, and immune system. They are also known to have additional health benefits such as preventing diabetic complications and acting as a sleeping aid.
Rinse the seeds in a strainer and use a paper towel to wipe off any additional pulp. Spread the cleaned seeds out to dry overnight. Once they are dried, spread them out on a cookie sheet and roast in an oven for no longer than 20 minutes. For additional flavor, season as desired after roasting. Bag the seeds for ready-to-go snacks or use them in salads, you can even try to mix them in with your burger meat for a surprising pizzazz!
Source: Jodimichelle (CC BY-SA 2.0)
3. Pumpkin Centerpiece Vases
A pumpkin vase is a creative addition to any décor any time of year, and can make for thoughtful yet inexpensive hostess gifts. Slice off the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the pulp, stringy membranes and seeds. Insert a glass or plastic vase into the hollow to hold water; you can easily find an insert at your local dollar store. Arrange fresh or silk flowers in the vase as desired. White pumpkins tend to lend an air of elegance, and they can be trimmed with gold or silver.
4. Pumpkin Planters
Going off of the vase idea, use pumpkins as an eco-friendly planter. For best results, start by using a round, fat, flat-bottomed pumpkin. Slice off the top—farther down than you did for the vase to create a larger opening. If the opening is large enough, a trowel is really efficient for this step. Fill the hollow one-third to one half with lightweight potting soil. Place the plants into the soil and water accordingly. Decorate the pumpkin planter if you like—autumn leaves make a colorful addition.
Similar to compost or leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing, the pumpkin will start to decompose and act as a fertilizer. Once the pumpkin starts to rot away is when you plant the planter in the ground and let nature take its course.
There are so many ways to utilize pumpkins in their entirety and in a budget friendly way– comment below and tell us how you have or plan to use pumpkins this autumn season!
Ashley Miller is a home decor and lifestyle writer who cures her HGTV obsession by refurbishing anything and everything she can get her hands on into something new.