How to Utilize Pumpkins

by Guest Writer

Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and fall in general there are pumpkins everywhere, so take advantage of this wonderful and versatile plant! We all know that pumpkins are great for decoration, but they also make for great beauty products, gardening supplies, and of course food! Keep in mind that one pumpkin can be used for many projects. For example, if you carve out a jack-o-lantern, save the pulp for a homemade exfoliator and roast up those seeds for a tasty treat! This way you can showcase pumpkins around your house and on your plates guilt-free!

Pumpkins are great for decorations or for replacing household items. Whether you want to have a festive centerpiece or to spice up a dinner party, pumpkins are the perfect place to start!

Floating Pumpkin Candles:

  1. Buy 6-8 miniature pumpkins that are 3”- 4” across
  2. Buy the same number of votive candles
  3. Hold a votive candle over the top of the pumpkin and trace a circle around it
  4. Using a knife, carefully cut out the circle so that a votive candle will fit into the hole snugly
  5. Repeat with all the candles
  6. Fill bowls or pails with water, light the candles, and float the pumpkins in the water 

Carved Pumpkin Air Freshener:

  1. Cut off the top of a medium pumpkin, carve out the center
  2. Cut holes in the sides to vent with an apple corer or carve a jack-o-lantern
  3. Rub your favorite seasonal spices on the inside of the pumpkin top–not vanilla extract because the candle flame may ignite the alcohol
  4. Place a beeswax tea light candle in the bottom of the pumpkin
  5. Light and let burn–never leave a burning candle unattended

Serving Bowls:

  1. Preheat over to 350°F
  2. Cut off the top and carve out the center for each pumpkin
  3. Place hollowed-out pumpkins on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
  4. Brush the insides and the tops with a little vegetable oil
  5. Season as desired
  6. Bake for 35 minutes


  1. Cut off the top and carve out the center
  2. Place a container filled with water inside along with a bouquet of your favorite flowers

Pumpkins contain enzymes and antioxidants that offer results similar to gentle alpha-hydroxy action: they remove dead skin cells, while its beta-carotene-rich antioxidants nourish your skin! In addition to pumpkins and all their glory, a couple of common ingredients in the following beauty products are cinnamon and coconut! Cinnamon is gently warming, stimulating, and antibacterial and contains antioxidants that provide a beneficial boost. Coconut is a lovely natural moisturizer. These following recipes are easy to make, smell absolutely heavenly, and do divine things for your skin and hair!


Face Exfoliator:

  1. Put pumpkin seeds in a food processor until they are a fine-grain texture—it’s okay if you leave those stringy bits on the seeds
  2. Mix in 3 tablespoons of honey, which creates a moisture barrier, and 5 drops of cinnamon oil
  3. Scrub your face for a minute
  4. Leave on for 10 minutes for a complete exfoliation

Peel-off Facial Treatment:

  1. Start with ¼ cup of pumpkin puree
  2. Mix in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of milk
  3. Spread on face and let dry for 10 minutes
  4. Remove with warm water and follow with a toner & moisturizer

Face Mask:

  1. Start with ¼ cup of cornmeal
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 2 tablespoons of freshly crushed raw cranberries, which contains wrinkle-preventing enzymes
  3. Gently massage into your skin for 2 minutes
  4. Rinse

Body Scrub:

  1. Start with ¼ cup of brown sugar
  2. Mix in ¼ cup of pumpkin puree and 1 cup of olive oil, which creates an exfoliating scrub with serious moisturizing properties
  3. Apply to skin in a circular motion using a washcloth
  4. Rinse

Body Mask:

  1. Start with ½ cup of pumpkin puree
  2. Add ½ cup of liquid coconut oil
  3. Add ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  4. Blend together
  5. Massage into skin while you’re in the shower

Body Butter:

  1. Start with ½ cup of pumpkin puree
  2. Mix in ½ cup of solids from a can of coconut milk and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  3. Massage gently into skin
  4. Leave on for 10 minutes
  5. Rinse with water and pat dry

Hair Mask:

  1. Start with 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon of liquid coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt until smooth
  3. Coat your hair and let the mask sit under a shower cap for 15 minute
  4. Rinse out before washing your hair

There are so many pumpkin recipes that it was hard to pick just a few of my favorites. I tried to limit it down to one recipe for each meal! However, there is no such thing as too many pumpkin dishes! Pumpkins are packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as beta-carotene, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body and is essential for eye health. Research suggests that it might also help prevent heart disease. Furthermore, just one cup of pumpkin provides about three grams of fiber and is only 49 calories. Don’t forget the seeds either! One ounce provides a strong dose of protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.


Pumpkin Pancakes:

  1. Mix 1¼ cups of all-purpose flour, ¼ cup of white sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg together
  2. Whisk 1 cup of milk, ½ cup of pumpkin puree, 1 beaten egg, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  3. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and stir until just moistened—the batter will be slightly lumpy
  4. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat to 350°
  5. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry for 1 to 3 minutes
  6. Flip and cook until browned on the other side for about 1 minute more
  7. Repeat with remaining batter

Stuffed Pumpkin

  1. Carve out 1 small pumpkin, wash out and dry
  2. Cook ½ lb. of pork, ½ lb. of ground beef, and 1 small onion, drain off fat
  3. Peel 5 to 6 potatoes, mash, and combine with meat
  4. Season with sage, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning
  5. Put mixture in pumpkin and place the pumpkin in a dish of shallow water
  6. Bake for 1 hour at 350°F or until fork goes into shell easily

Pumpkin Soup

  1. In a heavy, large saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat
  2. Add 1 chopped onion and cook until tender for about 5 minutes
  3. Stir in 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 can of stewed tomatoes, and 2 cups of pumpkin puree, bring to a simmer
  4. Stir in warmed 4 cups of low sodium canned chicken stock and return to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes
  5. Puree soup in 3 batches in a blender
  6. Season with fresh grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper
  7. Stir in ½ cup of heavy cream and return to simmer
  8. Serve with 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Pumpkin Guacamole

  1. Whisk the following ingredients together: 1 small avocado (peeled and mashed), 2 cups of pumpkin puree, 1 ½ teaspoons of lime juice, 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 small onion (finely diced), ¾ teaspoons of red chili powder, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips or your favorite Mexican meal
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. Toss 1½ cups of raw whole pumpkin seeds in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of melted butter and 1 pinch of salt
  3. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown, stir occasionally

Pumpkin Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease bottom and sides of 15x10x1-inch pan with cooking spray
  3. Beat 2 cups of Original Bisquick™ mix, 2 cups of granulated sugar, ½ cup of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 4 beaten eggs, and 2 cups of pumpkin puree with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds
  4. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes
  5. Stir in ½ cup of raisins
  6. Pour into pan
  7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes
  8. Cool completely for about 2 hours

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

  1. Combine the following ingredients in blender: ½ cup of pumpkin puree, 1 medium frozen banana, 1 cup of almond milk, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice, and ½ cup of ice
  2. Puree until perfectly smooth
  3. Divide between two glasses and serve immediately

While growing pumpkins is a little tricky, pumpkins can still be great tools for the garden! Pumpkins naturally compost and as they break down they will help enrich the soil.


  1. Cut off the top and carve out the center
  2. Fill it with soil and bright plants like fall mums
  3. Leave it outside as a festive decoration for a few days
  4. Plant the whole thing and the pumpkin will provide fertilizer for your plant as it naturally composts


  1. Take out the seeds
  2. Throw the pumpkins into compost

The list truly goes on for pumpkin projects! Use your creativity to utilize pumpkins to their fullest potential in order to be as sustainable as possible. For all you animal lovers, you can always toss leftover pumpkin seeds and pulp into your yard for birds and other critters or you can leave you jack-o-lanterns out after Halloween for a furry friend! Feel free to comment with any pumpkin ideas you have, we would love to hear them!

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