Califonia Bountiful

The great pumpkin

Sept./Oct. 2013 California Bountiful magazine

Carving a pumpkin is certainly one of the most popular ways to use one. But here are other ideas to get the most of everyone's favorite fall fruit (and yes, it is a fruit, not a vegetable!):

  • Make a floating candle out of a miniature pumpkin: Hold a votive candle over the top of a pumpkin and trace a circle around it. Using a knife, carefully cut out the circle so that a votive candle will fit snugly into the hole. Place in a bowl or vase filled with water and—voila! —you'll impress your friends and family with an instant, decorative floating candle.
  • Pumpkin air freshener: Cut off the top of a small- to medium-sized pumpkin, scoop out the pulp inside and put the top back on. With a paring knife or apple corer, cut as many holes as you'd like in the sides of the pumpkin for ventilation. Then rub your favorite seasonal spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, on the inside of the pumpkin and underneath the top. You can even use fresh vanilla bean, but don't use vanilla extract, because the candle flame may ignite the alcohol. Place a votive candle in the bottom of the pumpkin, light and enjoy the sweet aroma!
  • Roast the seeds: Scoop out the meaty seeds inside the pumpkin, spread them on a cookie sheet with lots of salt and a little butter, and roast until golden brown. They make a great snack for the home or on the road.
  • Make a vase: Pumpkins also make the perfect seasonal vase, in whatever size you choose—small, medium or large. View ideas from California Bountiful gardening expert Pat Rubin. 
  • Create a pumpkin sauce: Take those pumpkin seeds you roasted and grind them in a blender or food processor with cilantro, parsley, garlic, lemon and olive oil. Drizzle the sauce over salads or vegetables, or use as a dip.  

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