Every year this poor, misunderstood squash gets a bit of a raw deal. We scoop out its innards, slice and dice it into all sorts of ghoulish shapes and then toss it out in the cold, leaving it to rot on the doorstep with only a tea light for company.
BUT; Did you know that pumpkins are a fantastic source beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives the pumpkin its vibrant orange colour. Once eaten, the body turns it into vitamin A which can help to protect against asthma, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Pumpkins are also rich in zinc, magnesium, fibre, potassium and vitamins C and E and have antibacterial properties, helping delay skin ageing, lower blood pressure, boost vision and sleep better.
So before you throw all that orange goodness away, we thought we’d share some of the best pumpkin ideas out there so you can swap your favourite face creams and calm-inducing candles for natural, chemical-free alternatives (for Autumn at least!):
Cleansing facemask: Pumpkins have so many nutrients it makes an excellent skincare product to help keep aging at bay. Try this simple facemask recipe to get rid of those free radicals and keep your face looking radiant.
Seed roasting: Pumpkin seeds reduce plaque and maintain the enamel on your teeth. This step-by-step guide from Jamie Oliver is easy to follow and adds fennel seeds and chilli flakes for a bit of a kick. Try adding your own mix of spices for a sweet or savoury snack that even your dentist will approve of!
Pumpkin seed brittle: As well as a super snack, pumpkin seeds can be used as a more decadent treat. This brittle recipe from Smitten Kitchen will have your taste buds tingling.
Pumpkin planters: These cute little pumpkin plant pots are simple to make and you can use the insides for a seasonal soup or a seedy snack. Using a few different squashes would make a stylish display for your succulents and if you choose to use seedlings you can submerge the whole pumpkin in the soil when they’re ready for planting outside, keeping the roots protected from the cold.
Squashy Soy wax candles: The clever crafter behind papernstitchblog has come up with an elegant way to use pumpkins and squashes in the form of soy wax candles. It’s just a shame these underused fruits don’t last all year!
No carve pumpkins: For those who like the thought of decorating without the mess of having carving, check out abeautifulmess for some seriously chic pumpkin ideas to decorate the inside and outside of your house.
Pumpkin soup: We couldn’t finish the list without mentioning a seasonal favourite. This easy to make soup from Delia Smith adds Gruyere cheese for an extra gooey and satisfying taste. For a twist on the traditional, go for this Thai-inspired recipe with creamy coconut soup and fresh chilli (it looks dinner party worthy too).