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Pumpkin season

I love the fall! The leaves changing colors paint the landscape here in the Pacific Northwest. The change in weather brings about a new wardrobe.  But for many, the most significant aspect of the fall is pumpkin season. Aside from the pumpkin spice latte, using the actual pumpkins other than just carving out jack-o-lanterns is a foreign idea. Here are a few ways to use pumpkins

1.      Pumpkin puree: Best if using small pumpkins. Cut the stem off and then slice the pumpkin into quarter slices. Scrape out the pulp and seeds (save the seeds if you want). Place pumpkin on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender. The skin should peel off easily. Put the pumpkin in a food processor (or blender with a little water added). Use this puree immediately or freeze it for later to use in any recipes calling for pumpkin puree.

2.      Pumpkin face mask: Take 1 T of cooked pumpkin and 1 t of raw apple cider vinegar and mix them together. Apply to skin and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and a cleanser. Pumpkins are rich in vitamins A, C, and E which is great for the skin.

3.      Pumpkin stock: Use the “guts” or the stringy part of the pumpkin and put them in a pot with other inedible vegetable parts (celery or carrot tops). Boil for 30 minutes (until broth changes color) and strain the out the liquid to use as a vegetable stock.

4.      Pumpkin butter: Add 2 cups pumpkin puree and 1 cup brown sugar to a cup of water. Add spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (typical fall spices) and a little bit of salt. Bring ingredients to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes. Once cooled, store in glass jar in refrigerator.

 Ideas and recipes come from the following links:

http://www.primallyinspired.com/homemade-pumpkin-mask/

               http://earth911.com/food/10-uses-for-your-pumpkin/