The great pumpkin

Pumpkins have all kinds of colors and uses. File photo.

by David Womak
The Gayly Gardner

The “great pumpkin” has many unexpected uses, from health and body to our kitchen, as well as an assortment of decorative uses. Getting involved and creative with the pumpkin is fun for all ages. And you just may end up with some unique gift ideas and seasonal inspiration to transform your living environment into a fall oasis.

With the use of pumpkins becoming more popular each year, pumpkineer’s are now producing unique varieties with new textures, colors and sizes. The pumpkin changes color from green to orange or other colors for the same reason leaves change their color in the fall and under the same conditions. As the natural chlorophyll breaks down, the colors begin to change to green, white and orange. Some may even be blueish gray, gray striped with green or even the crazy color of salmon.

The combination of color can really create a fall masterpiece.

Besides these color arrangements, the pumpkin has some unusual uses. For example, health and body uses. Did you know that pumpkins are loaded with antioxidants and disease fighting vitamins? The traditional brilliant colored orange pumpkin is a benefit to beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin that is converted to Vitamin A in our bodies and is essential for eye health.

Pumpkins have an anti-aging effect for a facial mask and scrub product. Good-bye wrinkles!

The seeds shouldn’t be thrown out or overlooked either. Try baking your pumpkin seeds. One ounce provides a strong dose of protein, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Recipes for dishes produced with pumpkins are countless, but here's a way to use the pumpkin itself. Simply cut off the top, clear away the inners (keeping your newly beneficial seeds), then preheat the oven to 350°. Place your pumpkin in and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Let cool then begin to fill with your favorite casserole, soups and bean combos, even use as a cornbread and roll holder.

Instead of baking try cooling and fill with a mixed fruit salad, a Jell-O idea or get your pumpkin really, really cold and serve your favorite homemade ice cream dessert out of your great pumpkin.

From the table centerpieces to the front door stoop, pumpkins have been a great part of decorating and our lives, from expressional faces being carved, to painting mini murals.

Here’s one you can try; the pumpkin can be used as a vase, cut off the top, clean out the stuff and place a container inside. Fill with water and add your favorite cut flowers. A cool use for making a fall decoration.

As for the use of those cute minis, they make good candle holders. They can also be utilized for place cards or card holders at Thanksgiving dinner. You can also write on them so you can personalize your guest’s names.

Last, but not the least of creative uses for our pumpkins: Feeling photogenic? Try this on for size. Find a really big pumpkin, cut a hole in the top wide enough to fit your child through (please remember to clean it out first), pick the best side to cut two holes at the bottom for those legs to poke out, insert your little one and let the photo session begin! Totally cute.

The search now begins for you to find your own great pumpkin. So, get your carving set, gather around the picnic table and create your pumpkin memories. Have fun my Gayly Pumpkineer’s.

Copyright The Gayly – October 3, 2017 @ 10:05 a.m. CDT.