When October rolls around, many people rush to their nearest pumpkin patch to pick the largest, most voluptuous fruit in all the land. Then, they rush home, giddy with excitement, with thoughts dancing in their head of exactly how they are going to carve it. However, pumpkins aren't just for carving anymore, friends. This big orange fruit can be used in all facets of cooking, baking and decorating. So put that knife down and get crazy with these fun (and delicious) uses for pumpkin!
The wonderful thing about pumpkins is that they come in all shapes, sizes and colors! Many only recognize pumpkins as being the large, orange, circular squashes they see on neighbor's stoops and in their windowsills. When you are using pumpkins to bake, cook or decorate, experiment with all of the different varieties and colors to add new flavors to your favorite fall dishes or exciting color to your dining room table!
Use in your tablescape
While picking pumpkins at your local orchard or patch, grab a few little ones to use in your fall tablescape! Smaller pumpkins and gourds are perfect to group around large candles, fruits and flowers in the center of your table! In addition, you can prop place cards in front or on top of them when you are hosting your next fall harvest dinner party! Another easy way to use this mini fruit is to pile them in a hurricane glass with fall leaves for an easy, elegant centerpiece.
Hollow N' stuff
As you prepare your hearty fall stuffings and thick stews, think outside the box in terms of presentation. Instead of serving these comfort food favorites in a standard serving bowl, use a hollowed pumpkin to create a statement! All you do is hollow out your pumpkin as you would if you were carving! Pour soup, stew, stuffings, potatoes or polenta into the hollowed out pumpkin for an easy, organic way to serve! Trust me, it'll have your guests talking and praising your Martha Stewart ingenuity.
Chop and puree into soup
There's nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly, autumn evening. For an easy and delicious autumn soup, add pumpkin! All you need to do is chop the pumpkin into bite size chunks, roast and puree. If the pumpkin is too hard to chop to begin with, boil or roast for 10-15 minutes until softened. For an easy and delicious Thai pumpkin soup, check out this one!
Make pumpkin stock
You've heard of chicken stock, beef stock and vegetable stock, but what about pumpkin? Pumpkin stock is a great use for those slimy, icky guts you get when you clean out your pumpkin. For an easy, flavorful stock, just separate the seeds from the guts and then place the guts in a pot filled with water and boil. Add celery, carrots and a bay leaf for extra flavor. Then boil for about 30 minutes or until the water begins to change color. Strain and use in your favorite soups, stews or freeze for later!
Turn into candles
Looking for an easy, cheap, DIY fall project? Buy a few mini pumpkins, some small votive candle holders and matching votives. Place the votive holders over the top of the pumpkin and trace the circle. Carve with a sharp knife just deep enough to fit the candle holder and the votive. Then place around your dinner table, living room or in a bowl of water for a floating candle effect! It's an easy and decorative way to spruce up your kitchen for fall. Plus, did I mention cheap?