This time of year is the harvest of one of my favorite things, pumpkins. Growing up, I don’t recall pumpkins being any other color than orange. Though my favorite shade of orange is that of a pumpkin, I must admit to admiring the other varieties too. Beautiful shades of grays, muted blues and white pumpkins are glorious and abundant this season. Pretty as they are to admire untouched, pumpkins are perfect for a host of fun to make crafts and delicious family recipes.
When carving a pumpkin to make a Jack-o-Lantern, score the inside rind and sprinkle with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or other spices. As the rind heats up, it will emit a pleasant, spicy fragrance.
To make a tray of Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, toss together:
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
When using seeds fresh from a pumpkin, first rinse them in a colander under running water, allowing some of the pulp to remain. Toss until the seeds are well coated, then spread the seeds evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Store baked seeds in an airtight container for no more than one week.
You can also bake large chunks of pumpkin (no seeds) in an oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until soft. Cool, if baked with skin on, scrape pulp from skin and puree in a food processor for 2-3 minutes. Use this for your own seasonal recipes or freeze for up to one year.
Throughout the year, I like to prepare a fresh Pumpkin Facial Masque, by mixing together:
- 1/8 cup cooked pumpkin pulp, cooled
- 1 tbsp ground oats
- Pinch of nutmeg
Mix all ingredients together to form a paste, sometimes, I'll add a touch of water or apple cider for a thinner consistency. Apply with fingers in a circular motion to face and neck, leave on for 5-8 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water, gently pat dry. Mix ingredients just prior to using and discard any leftovers.
Pumpkin is a rich source of exfoliating enzymes, antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals, naturally beneficial for skincare.
Pumpkins are more than food, they are memories, beautiful and whimsical decorating touches, good times and just about every part of them can be used to care for our mind, body and spirit.
Pennie Mills is the owner of Ladies Blend design studio, offering handmade semiprecious gemstone jewelry and handcrafted soy bliss candles.