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Instead of trashing pumpkins, try these ideas

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Posted at 8:12 AM, Oct 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-01 10:01:57-04

Of course pumpkins may serve as holiday decorations past Halloween and through to Thanksgiving. But when you're ready to move the pumpkins off the porch and replace them with winter decorations, these ideas will get you more out of them and save them from the trash.

Make pumpkin pancakes, toast the seeds

There are a variety of recipes that involve every part of the pumpkin. The website All About Pumpkins suggests combining mashed pumpkin with the ingredients in homemade pancakes, and serving them in typical fashion with maple syrup.

Toasting the seeds from inside a pumpkin is quite simple. For two cups of seeds, pull the fibers and excess pulp off and coat them with one tablespoon of corn oil or sunflower oil, one tablespoon of butter, and one to two teaspoons of salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and cook them at about 225 degrees for an hour. They should appear crispy and dry. 

Pumpkin peels may be pickled

A practice common in Germany? Picking the peel of a pumpkin. The rind must be from a clean pumpkin, one free of rot or burns from candles.

Recipe Lion suggests covering the rind in sugar overnight. Several recipes for this practice may be found online. 

Turn it into a planter

Have a hollowed out pumpkin? Plant some flowers in it. When you are tired of looking at it or it begins to rot, plant the entire thing into the ground. The website Earth911 says the pumpkin will naturally compost and become fertilizer. If you plan to put the pumpkin in the ground, it needs to be done prior to the first frost of the season.

Exfoliate your skin

The rind of a pumpkin may also be made into an exfoliation mask. According to the National Honey Board and website Care2.com, honey is a key ingredient in the mask. You will need several other ingredients to make this mask, but it may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Check out the recipe.

Donate your pumpkins

Believe it or not, some zoos and farms accept donations of pumpkins as they make for good stock feed. Call your local zoo or ask a farmer you may know to see if they want them. The pumpkins must be fresh and in good condition in order to be fed to an animal.

Have other ideas for using pumpkins? Tweet it to @ScrippsNational.