The pumpkins that caused so much excitement at Halloween are typically tossed away after the fun is over. But that old gourd can still be put to use. Here are a few ideas to reuse or recycle those big orange fruits.
1. If pumpkins are still in good shape without any signs of mold, reuse them for some delicious meals. Remove any candle wax, cut them in half, place the pieces in a baking dish (cut sides down), and bake in a 400°F oven for an hour or until fork-tender. Let cool, and scoop out the flesh to puree or mash for recipes, such as pumpkin soup. As an alternative, cut it into chunks for a skillet of braised pumpkin with tomatoes and fresh herbs.
2. Turn old pumpkins into a rich soil amendment for next season’s vegetable garden. Cut the gourds into small pieces, and either add them to the compost pile or bury them in a trench dug right into the garden bed.
3. Turn a jack-o’-lantern’s face around, and use the uncut side as part of a fall container decoration. Plant fall flowers and ornamental grasses around the pumpkin, and add other fall fruits and vegetables to complete the display.
4. Slice the top off a pumpkin to where there are no holes and make a bird feeder. Add some string so that the feeder can hang from a branch or plant hanger. Fill with birdseed to attract your favorite feathered friends.
5. Place pumpkins outside as they are, and let the squirrels and other wildlife have a long-lasting, nutritious fall feast.
6. Line a pumpkin with weed fabric or row cover, and fill it with potting soil. Plant pansies, mums, and fall greenery to make an attractive fall container.