Turn your post-holiday jack-o-lantern into an upcycled treat for you and the family!
1. Compost it:
Pumpkins are fantastic to use in the garden. They break down easily and add powerful nutrients to your garden. For uncarved pumpkins, remove the seeds and pulp from the inside and set aside if you chose to cook with it. For jack-o-lanterns, remove any candles or wax that may be left inside. If you don’t have a compost bin, find a spot in your garden where you can leave your pumpkin to decay. A sunny spot will help kick-start the composting process. Set your pumpkin in your chosen spot and carefully break it up with a shovel or just by stepping on it. Cover it up with some leaves or soil to lock the moisture in and let Mother Nature do the rest!2. Make a face mask:
This use for pumpkin is a bit out of the box, but it’s the most relaxing! Pumpkin is naturally loaded with vitamins that are amazing for brightening and treating dark spots on your skin. If you’re not afraid to get a little bit dirty, check out this face scrub recipe from HGTV.com : (http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/pumpkin-power-pumpkin-spice-latte-skin-care) It will make you wish you had pumpkins in the house all year round!
2. Pumpkin Spice Latte Face Mask:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the pumpkin and honey and stir until all the dry ingredients have made contact with the wet ingredients. The mixture should be thick and hold up on its own on a spoon.
- Apply mixture to face with a small spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Wait 10–20 minutes or until the mask dries–you’ll feel it tighten. To rinse, splash water onto face, gently exfoliating in small circles with fingers. Wipe off any remaining mask residue with a warm, damp cloth.
- If you have masks leftover, cover and refrigerate. Use within a week.
3. Cook with it:
A common but delicious use for your leftover pumpkins is to cook with it. Whether it’s something sweet or savoury, pumpkin can be used in countless ways to create nutritious and tasty dishes. Check out this article from Food Network Canada for some inspiration:http://www.foodnetwork.ca/thanksgiving/photos/30-unique-ways-with-pumpkin/#!apple-pumpkin-pecan-pie
4. Make a pumpkin planter:
If your pumpkin is still in good shape you can use it to make a festive planter out of. Your first step is to choose a potted plant that will fit into your pumpkin. While you’re looking for a plant, also keep in mind the kind of climate you live in. You’ll want a plant that will hold up to the chilly autumn weather. Also, consider a plant that will frame your pumpkin nicely and cover the rough edges of the top hole.
If your pumpkin is still intact and not already carved, you’ll need to cut a hole in the top and empty the contents. Now, flip your pumpkin upside down and cut a small hole in the bottom so that water can drain out.
Next, put your potted plant into the pumpkin through the top hole that you carved. If it doesn’t quite fit you can take it out and carve a bit more off of the edge of the hole. Once your planter is complete you can put it on the steps at your front door, on your table as a centerpiece, etc.
5. Plant the seeds:
If you want to try planting your own pumpkins for Halloween next year, just collect the seeds from your pumpkin and put them in a colander to rinse. Be careful not to let the seeds sit in still water, otherwise, they will rot and not grow once planted. You don’t need to keep all of the seeds – try to get about 3 times more seeds than the number of pumpkins you hope to grow in the upcoming season. Not all of the seeds will germinate, so it’s best to have a few extra.
Put your rinsed seeds on a piece of paper towel to dry. Make sure there is space between each seed so they don’t stick together. Let them sit for about a week in a dry spot, then into a container for storage. You can keep these seeds in a vented container in the fridge until planting season comes around again.
Typically pumpkins are planted anywhere from May to July, so do some research before you plant to ensure when is suitable for your climate. Earth Safe® Fruit is a fantastic option to help your pumpkins thrive.
6. Make a pumpkin bird feeder:
Another fun way to use your leftover pumpkin is to make a bird feeder. A lot of birds migrate for the fall and winter seasons, but it makes for a great treat for those who stick around. All you need to do is cut your pumpkin in half, horizontally. Now poke holes around the edge of the pumpkin, about two inches from the cut rim. Stick twigs into these holes for little perches for the birds. To hang the feeder, you’ll want to tie two meter long pieces of twine together at their centers, to create an “X”. Now take the knot and place it at the bottom of your feeder. The four pieces of twine should now be pulled up around the edges of the feeder and tied together in a knot at the top, to be hung from a branch or hook. Fill your feeder with seeds and watch the neighbourhood birds flock to your yard!