10 Uses for A Pumpkin 10 Uses for A Pumpkin

The pumpkin, a gourd-like member of the squash family, has been around for thousands of years. Believed to have originated in North America, evidence of its existence has been found in Mexico dating back to between 7000 and 5500 B.C. Today, the pumpkin is traditionally used in Thanksgiving and Halloween celebrations. Although we often think of pumpkin pie and jack-o-lanterns, the pumpkin has many other uses. In this 2 part series, we discuss the many uses of pumpkins.

  • Make a pumpkin pie. Nothing says Thanksgiving like the smell of pumpkin spice wafting from the kitchen. Here’s a recipe:

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1) 9 inch baked pastry shell
  • Cool Whip for topping

Directions
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and spices.
Add the pumpkin and milk, stirring in gradually.
Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.
When mixture reaches boiling, allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add a small amount of mixture to the egg yolks and return all to saucepan.
Cook 2 to 3 more minutes
Pour mixture into baked pie shell.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
Cut into slices.
Top each piece with Cool Whip.
Serve warm or cold.

  • Make Halloween Jack O’ Lanterns

Halloween is the time for jack o’ lanterns. Nowadays pumpkin carving is very easy. On the market is a lot of pumpkin carving kits that are much safer to use and give you the opportunity to make fancy cuts. Stencils and patterns are readily available, both online and in many big box stores.

  • Make pumpkin wine.

Pumpkin wine is very good. Although it sounds a bit strange, it is enjoyed by many. There are a lot of different recipes for making pumpkin wine. It can be made into a dry wine, or a sweeter table wine. Pumpkin wine can best be described as having the qualities of a semi-sweet Chardonnay. Many years ago I had pumpkin wine that was made in the pumpkin itself, and it was excellent. I looked for a recipe online, but haven’t found one.

  • Always save the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds are not only nutritious, but are tasty, too. Food experts advise using the seeds from the “sugar pumpkins” – the kind used for making pies. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin. Boil in salted water for ten minutes. Drain the seeds. Coat a baking sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Single layer the seeds and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve cold.

The pumpkin is a very versatile gourd. In the next segment, we continue to look at ways to use it.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.

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