Fun and Earth-Friendly Pumpkin Ideas!

by Christina Dawn Morgan

October 30, 2014

Oh, yeah, people its Fall! So, if you find yourself around deciduous trees right now, then you are most likely enjoying a fantastically colorful show of autumnal leaf changes. Therell be reds, oranges, yellows But, wait! What are all of those round, orangish balls laying all over the ground? Why, theyre all over the fields, taking over the farmers markets, and popping-up on porches everywhere! Dont worry, yall. Fall just so happens to also be PUMPKIN SEASON! (Hooray!)

For those who would like to take a moment to learn more about pumpkins right now, heres an insanely informative site about pumpkins, where you can learn all about where they originated, what varieties there are, which ones you can eat, and more! Now what the heck can you do with this Falls pumpkin bounty?

Step 1: Find yourself one (or lots of ones)! Theres no better way to experience the gorgeous squashesof Fall – including pumpkins – than to have at least one of them in your life up-close. To best care for Mother Earth while you shop, be sure to select local and, if possible, organic pumpkins whenever you can. To help you find those, Local Harvest has a great site to help you find a local farm or farmers market where you are, and your local grocer may also have local and organic selections. An extra perk: If youre gonna eat your pumpkin(s), then these options will always taste better and nourish best.

Step 2: Check out these Fun and Earth-Friendly Ideas for EnjoyingPumpkins this Fall:

Use them as decorations: One of the most fun ways to add pumpkins to your life this Fall is to buy an assortment of really lovely ones (remember that there are lots of beautiful varieties out there) and place them ornamentally around your yard, porch, or house. You can leave them whole (my, so pretty!), or carve them into lovely or even scary sculptures of your design. Just starting out with pumpkin carving? Martha Stewarts site had a nice slideshow on how to carve a pumpkin, in case youre interested. Feeling super fancy? This Country Living article provides some pro-tips on how to decorate your Halloween Pumpkins. Earth-friendly pumpkin carvingtips: Use earth-friendly paper to stencil-out your Jack-O-Lantern design and use non-toxic paints and craft materials to accentuate. If youre lighting-up your pumpkins insides, then be sure to select eco-friendly options. Using a candle? Avoid palm oil as an ingredient, pass-over the standard paraffin (petroleum) candles, and grab a beeswax or other form of eco-friendly candle. Temporarily repurposed solar yard lights, LED bike lights, flashlights, or glow sticks can also add some lovely light to your pumpkin without adding too much of an energetic bite.

Eat them: Oh, wow. Heres my favorite. There are about a bajillion ways to eat pumpkins. ((1)Yep, its a word, and (2) I mean it! Google pumpkin recipes and youll have ideas for days!) Earth-friendly pumpkin recipe tips: As mentioned previously, go for fresh, local, and organic vs. canned & conventional for your pumpkin flesh and seeds whenever possible. Itll mean less of an impact on the planet and a greater taste for you! From there, simply avoiding GMOs within your ingredients will put you well on your way to protecting the planet while preparing pumpkins to eat. Some pro tools for avoiding GMOs while you shop include the Non-GMO Shopping Guide and looking for the Non-GMO Project Label.

Some sweet recipes for you: While there are lots of savory pumpkin recipes out there, too, here are three epic sweet ones: a healthy favorite from oh she glows, another that my office-mate cant wait to make: Pumpkin Pie Cookies, and my personal favorite: Raw Pumpkin Pie!

A note on pumpkin seeds: Dont throw em out! :)These little boogers are so packed with nutrition to fuel you through the fall that I am sharing thekitchn.coms lengthy list of things that you can do with them just to make you find a way to eat them. πŸ˜‰ (Give one or 12 a try!) Oh, and by the way, you can also just eat them right out of the pumpkin. πŸ˜‰

DRINK THEM! This option is #trending. I had no idea just how many ways there are to add a pumpkin to a delightful beverage, but Yummly has about a million ideas for us all. If youre looking for ways to drink pumpkin that dont involve doing it yourself, then you can always find a nice earth-friendly organic pumpkin ale, like Wolavers. (Have any pumpkin beverage tips of your own? Share below!)

Wear them?! Because pumpkins are just so darn nutritious, they are also profoundly nutritive for our skin when applied topically. Not lying! The sustainability-centric Ecouterre offers some great ideas for how to use fresh, seasonal pumpkin in your skin care for radiant, healthy skin.

COMPOST THEIR REMAINS! When your epic pumpkin decorations, recipe and beauty product leftovers need to be pitched, think twice before throwing them in the trash can! Pumpkin parts of all kinds make fantastic compost returning those lovely nutrients to the soil for perhaps your own future gardening projects to benefit from. DwellSmart has a great guide for How to Compost Pumpkins. (Check it out!) Oh, and if you have any uncooked pumpkin seeds left over, you can throw some to the squirrels and birds, or even hang on to some for next year. (Maybe next years pumpkin(s) will be homegrown!) πŸ˜‰

Thanks, y all. Enjoy all of the squashes this fall, and let us know what youll be doing with pumpkins this year!

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