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The Pumpkin: A Multifunctional Fall Treasure

Practically a symbol of fall’s bounty, pumpkins sit as décor atop porches and Thanksgiving tables alike. But they are far more versatile than traditional holiday decorations and can be creatively used in a number of ways.

The most familiar tactic is to scoop out the seeds. Season and roast them as snacks by themselves or stir into a brittle. Save them to grow your own pumpkin. Dry them and make mosaic tiles to use in kids’ crafts.

Boil or bake the flesh for fresher and tastier puree to use in pie, soup and baked goods. (Puree can even be made into a body scrub!) Chunk it and serve in a vegetarian casserole. Use the stringy “gut” pieces to simmer a stock that, together with diced pumpkin, serves as key ingredient in a savory pasta sauce. The flesh can be roasted for brewing pumpkin ale. Recipes and tutorials galore are available online for repurposing pumpkin.

A word of caution: Uncarved pumpkins can stay fresh for months depending on how they’re kept. But be careful with pumpkins that have been outside for a while. It’s not advisable to use carved jack-o-lanterns for food or personal hygiene applications, as the inner flesh may dry out, spoil or sour after sitting out for a day or two. The compost pile is usually your best bet for all your carvings.

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