Pumpkin season has finally arrived as every local farmer’s market and grocery store can attest. Pumpkins in Canada are usually picked before first frost which is forecasted to arrive in the second to third week of October this year. Pumpkins, like most species of squash are believed to have originated in Mexico or North America. Over the last two hundred years, pumpkins have become symbols of Harvest to Halloween celebrations. And you can do so much more than just make pie with them….
Make Pumpkins Last Longer
Carve out the pumpkin using a very sharp kitchen knife. Empty it of all seeds and pulp using a small plastering trowel. Spread petroleum jelly on the surface so that it delays the process of decomposition. Pumpkins last much longer if they are left outdoors.
Flower Arranging in Pumpkins
Use a tumbler inside the pumpkin to hold the water so that it slows the rotting process. Use foam inside the tumbler that has been cut so that about an inch of foam sits above the top edge of the pumpkin.
Potting Plants into Pumpkins
Use a variety of sizes of pumpkins as containers in which to plant. This works best if the harvest season is cool as the pumpkin then lasts longer. It is especially effective if you use a variety of sizes with the flowers coordinated in a harmonious colour scheme. This looks great as a pot grouping or staggered on the front steps.
Pumpkins as Lanterns
Instead of a typical jack o’ lantern, choose a design and punch holes into the pumpkin that will allow light to shine through. Use led. candles or glow sticks inside the pumpkin to lessen the worry of lit candles. If candles are preferred, make certain that they are contained within a votive or tea light holder or tumbler within the pumpkin.
Masks on Pumpkins
Save the time you would use for carving. Just get a series of inexpensive masks to put on face sized pumpkins. Looks very neat sitting on the steps.
Make a pie pumpkin glisten first with a gloss of glitter glue or paint. This helps to make it last and gives it a Cinderella effect. Raise the pumpkin on a pedestalled cake plate; cover it with a cloche…etc.
Tiny Pumpkins as Candle Surrounds
Use a salad bowl or compote dish and fill it with small pumpkins and gourds to support a cream or fall coloured pillar candle. Festive and pretty for a harvest table.
Pumpkins as Tea light Holders
Use tiny pumpkins with just enough space carved out where the stem was to hold a tea light. Use one at each place setting for a very pretty effect.
Pumpkin Candle Holder
A variety of different sized pumpkins make ideal candle holders…mini-pumpkins for tea lights, small pumpkins for votives and taper candles, pie pumpkins for pillars and medium sized pumpkins to hold the 6x4 inch sized low, fat pillar candles.
Mini-pumpkins as Bobeches on Taper Holders
Think of the mini-pumpkin as the bobeche that prevents the candle wax from making a mess on the table. Carve out just enough space in the mini pumpkin to insert a taper candle. Use mole wax or candle wax to “glue” the pumpkin to the top of the taper holder and then put the taper in place. It is both pretty and effective to prevent candle drip.
Pumpkins as Place Card Holders
Use tiny pumpkins with the stems still on them. Slice just enough into the stem to hold a place card.
Easy Pumpkin Centrepiece
Find a particularly well-shaped, good-sized pumpkin that has nice colouring. Put it on a plate to raise it slightly and then surround it with a leafy or berried fall wreath. Instant centrepiece that shouts autumn.
Staggered Pumpkins as Three Tiered Serving Pedestal.
It is a little tricky to find the right sized pumpkins to do this but it is worth the effort. Find one large, one medium and a pie pumpkin fairly uniform shape with relatively flat tops. You are looking for plump, rather short pumpkins. Three glass plates in bread, luncheon and dinner sizes. Then just put the largest plate on top of the largest pumpkin. Then place the medium pumpkin on top of the largest plate. Medium plate goes next. Then the smallest pumpkin topped by the smallest plate. This is ideal for serving harvest cookies and bite-sized pastries.
Pumpkin as an Ice Bucket
Fill a carved out pumpkin with ice as a fun, different ice bucket.
Pumpkin as a Party Cooler
Carve out a large sized pumpkin, fill it with ice and it is ideal to use outdoors to hold white wine bottles, pop bottles, etc.
Pumpkin as a Soup Tureen
Use a small Pie Pumpkin as a Soup Bowl or to Contain Stew
Harvest Vegetables in a Pumpkin
Cut up squash, turnip, sweet potatoes, red-skinned potatoes and carrots and bake them within a carved out pie pumpkin. Drizzle the veggies with some seasoned sea salts and olive oil. Bake the veggies right in the pumpkin. Truly yummy and has a big awe factor when you bring it to the table.
Pumpkin as Candy Holder.
Cut out the top one quarter of your pumpkin and de-pulp it completely to use as your candy vessel for shelling out treats for Halloween.
Roasted or Fried Pumpkin Seeds
Clean up the seeds and bake or fry them in olive oil with plenty of salt if you want a tasty, salty treat.
Happy Harvest to Halloween, pumpkin!