Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Post: 5 Things To Do With a Pumpkin (That's Not Pumpkin Pie)

Image by: Richard Bowen

It’s Halloween in less than a month, and pumpkins are beginning to appear in supermarkets around the country. Now, if you’re a Halloween fan, then you’re probably already stocking up on the most charismatic of squashes, as well as tealights to turn them into some terrifying jack-o’-lanterns – and also making freezer space for the twenty pumpkin pies you’ll be baking.
But what if I told you that pumpkin pie and jack-o’-lanterns weren’t the only things you can make with your pumpkins? There are plenty of fun, creative and yummy tricks and treats you can create – and you can keep the kids out of trouble while they help you!
1. Make Some Yummy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. Get your kids to help scoop out the insides of your pumpkin and separate the pumpkin seeds from the pulp, and then wash the seeds well. Drain, and bake in a low oven for about half an hour. You can add salt, spices and sugar if you like - why not try several different seasoning combinations to find everyone’s favourite?
2. Save Your Raw, Dried Pumpkin Seeds and Grow Your Own Pumpkins. The best time to plant pumpkins is after all risk of frosts has gone, so around May to June time. Get your little ones to find the sunniest spot in your garden and make sure you fertilise the area well – the bigger the area the better. Mound up the soil, and then push about five pumpkin seeds deep into the mound. Then make sure you take care of them by watering and weeding, and you should have some yummy pumpkins by next Halloween!
3. Make a Pumpkin Face Mask. Face masks may seem like a grown up thing, but pumpkins are full of great skin beneficial vitamins and minerals, and what child can resist covering their face with an orange goop? Roast and puree your pumpkin flesh, and then mix a cup of pumpkin puree with half a cup of brown sugar and a splash of milk. Plaster on, leave for up to 20 minutes, and then scrub off for beautiful clean skin.
4. Use It as a Self-Fertilising Planter. Fill your carved jack-o’-lantern with compost (pack it tight to stop it falling out of the carved areas, and then let the kids pick out a couple of their favourite perennial flowers from the garden centre. Plant them in the pumpkin, and then you can leave it out as a decoration for a few days, before putting it in the ground to degrade into some great plant food.
5. Add It to Soups, Stews and Sauces. Pumpkin dishes don’t necessarily have to be sweet! Pumpkin soup is super simple to make and a great quick winter warmer for after school on chilly days. Just boil chunks of pumpkin flesh with potato, stock and seasoning of your choice (cumin works well), blend and serve. Pumpkin also works really well in curries, stews, risottos, Mexican foods and with pasta.
Remember that Halloween treats are a great way to compliment reward systems in primary schools – try to work in a fun pumpkin-based activity as a reward when your little ones have been particularly good.
What’s your favourite way of using pumpkins?
Louise Blake is a mum of one who is already in the Halloween spirit and making room in her freezer for lots of pumpkin goodies! She blogs on behalf of Carrot Rewards.
Attached Images:  License: Creative Commons image source 


Swidget 1.0