Nothing says Halloween like a bright orange pumpkin! From carving, illuminating, decorating and even cooking a traditional pumpkin pie or delicious fall soup, pumpkins are available in more varieties than ever before. With all those choices, you have more options for your fall décor. Local farms, nurseries, even grocery stores now stock an array of pumpkins and their relatives – gourds – that can help you set a fall mood inside, and outside, your home. Here are some great ideas to utilize this wonderful fall squash – and remember, if you have the space in your yard, they are easy to grow!
Some polls and reports claim that Halloween has become the second largest holiday in the country – at least in terms of retail spending. Decorating and entertaining is a big part of the expenditure, and the most popular decoration is a carved pumpkin. Although some of us prefer to skip the mess and opt for glass and ceramic pumpkins which can be illuminated, purists will want to carve. Get creative and purchase one of the many kits available for more intricate and interesting carvings – the results are worth the effort to have a truly stand-out work of art. Another creative option is to paint a simple scene or silhouette on your pumpkins.
Think décor and not pie this year. White pumpkins are about the hottest fall decorations out there. Trendy and understated, white pumpkins will work in nearly every room in your home, particularly in more formal settings, and the popular farmhouse kitchen. Whether you purchase a wooden or ceramic version, paint traditional pumpkins, or find a retail outlet that sells “Silver Moon” (the most popular white hybrid), white pumpkins add a chic and modern touch to your table. Silver Moon is lovely when paired with sage green gourds! The addition of painted gold or silver smaller varieties, along with candles and a neutral table runner, exudes elegance.
In the Kitchen
Even if you wish to wait for Thanksgiving to get that first taste of pumpkin pie, there are still many uses for fresh pumpkin in your kitchen. Soups, curry, muffins, and quick breads will yield the largest lot of recipes, but you will find many pumpkin spice flavored products at your local grocer. Due to its soaring popularity, the flavoring can be found in everything from drinks to baked goods. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a wonderful addition to salads, oatmeal, and rice dishes as well.
In the Garden
Pumpkins grow on a vine and need a lot of resources for success – room, water and sunshine. If you have the space, you might want to give it a go, especially with smaller varieties and gourds. And sometimes the best things are simply unplanned. A few years back, we composted our carved pumpkins and the seeds and flesh we had removed. Imagine our surprise the following summer, when we discovered a vine along our fence – and ended up with 4 or 5 medium sized pumpkins in the fall!
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