Preparedness blog

8 Things To Do with Your Leftover Pumpkins

By Jeff and Amy Davis
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Every year after the fall holidays are finished, we see hundreds of neighbors just throwing their pumpkins away! They have made their jack-o-lantern and other festive decorations and now they don’t know what to do with it. It’s important to know what to do with leftovers - such as pumpkins. Instead of wastefully throwing them away, you could use pumpkins to create butter, heal your skin, make biscuits, create air fresheners and more! Keep these uses of pumpkins in mind for this year’s holiday season. Share the knowledge too so we don’t see people just throwing away their pumpkins!

pumpkin uses1 - Pumpkin puree
One of the most helpful thing to know about re-using our pumpkin is knowing how to make pumpkin puree. The puree can then be used for cooking all types of dishes including pies, cakes, muffins, smoothies, etc. This could save you from buying all those cans of pumpkin during the Fall season.

Start by cutting the pumpkin down the middle, cut out the extra seeds and cuts and set them aside. Place the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking dish along with a cup of water and bake for about 90 minutes. The flesh will become very tender. After baking, scoop the flesh and blend it in a food processor.

2 - Donate them to a farmer
Instead of throwing out the pumpkins, make use of them by feeding them to animals. You can donate them to a local farmer so they can feed their animals. You can also use them to attract wildlife in hunting areas. Animals love the sweet taste of the harvest pumpkin!

3 - Pumpkin Butter
Everyone knows that fresh bread is better with butter. Make some festive butter with your old jack-o-lantern. Add 2 cups of pumpkin puree into a saucepan along with a cup of brown sugar and a cup of water or apple cider. You can then add a pinch of salt along with some pumpkin pie spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

Stir all the ingredients together and bring it to a boil. After it reaches a boil, lower the temperature and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Once the butter has cooled, store in a glass jar and refrigerator.

pumpkin mask4 - Heal your skin
You can even use your old pumpkins to create a refreshing exfoliating face mask.

You’ll need:

• 1 teaspoon green tea, brewed
• 2 teaspoon pineapple, diced
• 4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
• 1 tablespoon Honey
• 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel
• 1/2 teaspoon jojoba oil
• 4 teaspoons cornmeal

1. Steep green tea in boiling water. Set aside to cool.
2. In blender or food processor, puree pineapple and place in medium-sized mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, honey and aloe. Mix well.
3. Stir in jojoba oil, green tea and cornmeal.
4. Reserve remaining green tea for another use. Apply small amount of pumpkin mask to cheeks, forehead, chin and neck. Massage in circular motions gently buffing skin. Repeat. Apply more product as needed. Leave a thin layer of pumpkin mask on face and neck for 15-20 minutes.
5. Rinse with tepid or cool water and pat dry with soft towel. Follow with appropriate moisturizer.
6. Store remaining mask covered in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

5 - Floating candle
A little-known fact about pumpkins is that they are very good at floating - particularly the small pumpkins. Remove the pumpkin’s stem. Place a tea candle on top of the small pumpkin and trace its outline. Carefully cut out the tracing to a depth that will fit the depth of the candle. You can then place the candle snuggly in the pumpkin and then float them in a bowl of water as a fun Thanksgiving decoration.

6 - Pumpkin biscuits
Add some (pumpkin) spice to your Thanksgiving dinner table with some unique and tasty biscuits! You can use your old pumpkin to create a delicious side that will make your guests pester you for the recipe. This recipe will create about 20 biscuits.

You’ll need:

• 2 cups flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
• 1/2 cup regular milk
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1. Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Gently mix the flour, baking powder, salt and allspice in a large bowl and allow to sit.
3. Combine the pumpkin, milk, butter, and maple syrup in a medium bowl and stir until it is smooth.
4. Combine the two bowls of mixture and stir until the mixture holds together. If you overmix the biscuits will be rough.
5. Roll the dough out on a lightly-floured work surface and roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place the dough pieces on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

pumpkin flowers7 - Air freshener
People love the smell of pumpkins and they bring a festive smell to your home. Simply rub your favorite spice on the inside of the jack-o-lantern and light it with a tea candle. You might have to turn the pumpkin so the Halloween face isn't obvious but the scent will still be great!

8 - Flower pot
In order to create a pumpkin flower pot, find a medium-sized narrow pumpkin. Cut a hole in the top that is the width of a mason jar. Carefully remove all the innards of the pumpkin. Place your flowers inside of a mason jar of water. Lower the mason jar into the pumpkin along with the flowers and you’re done! Show off your beautiful pumpkin flowers around your home or give them away as a gift!

How are you using your old pumpkin?
Comment below to tell us what you use your old pumpkin for. Share the wealth and let us know what you think.

The Self-Sufficiency Handbook
9 years ago
9 years ago at 6:33 AM
Every year a friend and I take our pumpkins and use them for targets in our shooting range. I guess it's a bit wasteful, but a lot of fun! Last year I even got some pumpkins that my neighbor was throwing away. We call it "Pumpkin Shoot 20XX"
9 years ago at 9:15 AM
At what temp do you bake the pumkin for puree? Thanks, Curt
11 months ago at 8:16 AM
350 about 45 min...for small
9 years ago at 10:17 AM
Curt, I bake mine at 375 for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on size.
9 years ago at 4:29 PM
I break the pumpkins up and leave them out in the woods for the deer..its fast they are gone..all the wildlife love them. Last summer I went out back where I had thrown the pumpkins and Wella...there were pumpkings growing all over the place where I had thrown the ones from the year they were there for the wildlife another year.. Tom
9 years ago at 4:58 PM
a trick when baking pumpkin to use in recipes: chop, cook, put through a ricer or food mill, then put in cheesecloth and let drain. fresh pumpkin has an excessive amount of water and will throw off your recipes if you do not shed some of it out. Leftover pumpkin is delicious cubed and added to homemade chili.
9 years ago at 8:02 PM
Homemade Pumpkin Beer!
9 years ago at 8:26 PM
My dog loves the insides! It is good for them too! Just keep the scooped stuff and add a little to her food, keeping the seeds to roast of course!
9 years ago at 10:41 PM
What about the seeds? How do I preserve them to add to my emergency stores?
9 years ago at 11:16 PM
When you eat the pumpkin seeds, do you eat the shells, too, or take out the seeds? The shells seem so fibrous and unappetizing to me. When you roast the pumpkin seeds, do you put oil and seasoning on it first? How long and at what temperature are they roasted? Thanks.
9 years ago at 11:10 AM
my horses love them
9 years ago at 12:06 PM
If you live near a zoo, donate the pumpkins. Elephants love pumplins.
9 years ago at 3:49 PM
Big carving pumpkins are grown for size not taste and can be bland and rather watery. Small pumpkins know as "pie" or "sugar" pumkins are raised for cooking and are tastiest. Skin the pumpkin before feeding to pets or livestock to remove the pesticides used to grow them. Once you carve/and or burn a candle in one it isn't safe to eat anymore..
8 years ago at 5:49 AM
I keep the seeds and wash them. Dry them out on a dish towel. Then I add some olive oil, salt and pepper and put in the oven until done. My kids love them.
7 years ago at 6:20 AM
You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, pumpkin-kabobs, pumpkin creole, pumpkin gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple pumpkin, lemon pumpkin, coconut pumpkin, pepper pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin stew, pumpkin salad, pumpkin and potatoes, pumpkin burger, pumpkin sandwich. That- that's about it.
2 years ago at 7:16 PM
Bubba?? Bubba!!!
7 years ago at 9:55 AM
If you have already carved the pumpkin and it has been sitting out on the porch, you do NOT want to cook with it. By then the decay process has already started. Once it's been sitting carved up for a day or two and the moisture has started to leave it's no longer useful eating wise. Only use a pumpkin for puree and cooking by if it hasn't been cut into yet.
7 years ago at 6:25 AM
Pumpkin Stew Make up your favorite beef stew recipe and cook it inside a pumpkin that has had its insides cleaned of seeds and "stringy goop". Put the lid back on the pumpkin while baking. Bake for the time and temp your recipe calls for. Cooking this way imparts a wonderful flavor to the stew.
6 years ago at 9:13 AM
A few years ago my son and I made a trebuchet for his physics class. it was designed to be big enough to launch pumpkins over 100 yards (well over 100 yards in our case). after Halloween since we live out on the boonies we have target practice with them.
5 years ago at 8:47 AM
My son which is 49 yr. old now but in school they had a project of roasting pumpkin seeds which we did every year and sprinkled some season salt on them as they were roasting and they were very good .We have no small ones around any more but I have thought about just getting a pumpkin you can do so much and not much waste I always cooked the pumpkin on top of the stove cut it up in small pieces and cook and use to make pumpkin pies that was the filling.
Debra Barby
2 years ago at 7:56 AM
I leave mine out on the ground or in a low pot. The squirrels love to munch on them for several months!!