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Halloween Pumpkins : Medicinal properties and uses – Part II

Prof.Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, Rice University, Houston,TX

Prof.Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, Rice University, Houston,TX

by Meenakshi Bhattacharjee,

Use those guts
The guts are the stringy pieces that surround the seeds of your pumpkin, and they can be one of the most difficult parts to use. I suggest using these icky innards to make some pumpkin stock. Pumpkin stock is perfect for adding flavor to soups or casseroles, and you can freeze any extra for later use.

Get pumpkin pretty
Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, which makes pumpkin purée healthy for your body if you eat it and healthy to apply to the skin. That’s why one of the prettiest uses for the pumpkin is for a face mask. Start with about five teaspoons of pumpkin purée, add three teaspoons of brown sugar – which will naturally exfoliate your skin – and a tiny splash of milk.

Mix it all together, and apply to your face in circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Relax for up to 20 minutes and allow all that pumpkin goodness to seep into your skin. Bonus: it smells yummy, too!

Create a classic pumpkin seed dish
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty fall favorite, and there are plenty of ways to use them this November. After you’ve separated the seeds from the guts and rinsed them thoroughly, place them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Stir them around to coat them with oil.

From here, you can go almost anywhere with your pumpkin seeds. Add a little salt for classic roasted pumpkin seeds, or add some brown sugar and cinnamon for a sweeter treat. Roasted pumpkin seeds also make a tasty and crunchy outer layer for your candied apples, and they go great in brownies and other baked goods. But if Halloween has left you with a sugar crash, your roasted pumpkin seeds will make delicious garnishes for salads, too.

Feed the wildlife
Depending on where you live, a pumpkin you’d otherwise throw away could be a tasty snack for a furry or feathery neighbor. Old jack-o-lanterns are perfect food for deer, and any pumpkin seeds you don’t want to toast up for yourself will make a yummy treat for birds.

Mix up a pumpkin cocktail
Thanks to the ever-widening selection of flavored vodkas on the market, you can make a tasty cocktail out of almost anything – even your Halloween pumpkin. For a tasty cocktail, fill a shaker with ice, and add a tablespoon of pumpkin purée and two ounces of the flavored vodka of your choice. We suggest vanilla, cinnamon or ginger. Add a splash of lime juice and a tiny squeeze of honey. Shake and strain into a glass over fresh ice.

While you enjoy your grown-up dessert drink, you can use some of that pumpkin purée in a tasty milkshake for the kids.

Have pumpkin butter with breakfast
Fruit butters are delectable additions to a fall breakfast, and pumpkin butter is one of the easiest to make. Simply place two cups of your pumpkin purée into a saucepan with a cup of brown sugar and a cup of water or apple cider. From there you can add whatever spices you choose. We suggest familiar pumpkin pie spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, along with a pinch of salt.
Stir all the ingredients together, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, and allow the mixture to simmer for about 25 minutes. Once your pumpkin butter has cooled, store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator, and use it for breakfast on toast or biscuits. It makes a great topping for pancakes and oatmeal, too.

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