It’s that time of year when you can’t go anywhere without seeing pumpkins. While we know they are fun to decorate and paint, what else can we do with pumpkins?! Here are some fun ways to reuse pumpkin and all of the health benefits it has.
DID YOU KNOW…
Pumpkins are packed with Vitamins A and C, which are great antioxidants and can help keep your immune system working at its best during the fall and winter season. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber to help keep your tummy happy and your metabolism working optimally.
Similar to other nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and keep your heart happy and healthy. They can also help to boost your mood by increasing the amino acid tryptophan which in turn increases serotonin levels that play a big role in mood. Last, but not least, pumpkin has great anti-aging properties for the skin to help keep us looking as young as we feel.
5 easy ways to reuse your pumpkins.
Pumpkin soup. Simple, easy and very yummy (vegan-friendly too). Here is what you need...
1 tbsp olive oil
½ diced onion
4 garlic cloves
½ medium pumpkin peeled and cubed
1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
½-1 cup coconut milk
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and add in onion to cook for a few minutes. Add in pumpkin and garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add in rosemary and vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer until pumpkin is soft. Add salt to taste. Puree soup in a blender (in batches) and add to pot again. Now add in coconut milk and let simmer for 1-2 minutes and now you may serve it. Consider trying this soup hot or cold and you can always use it as a sauce over other dishes.
2. Don’t throw away the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a great and easy snack. All you have to do is...
Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin
Rinse them off in a bowl of water to get rid of the pumpkin guts
Once all of the seeds have separated to the top of the water, remove the seeds with a slotted spoon or your hands and pat them dry on a towel
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Per every half cup of seeds, toss in about 1 tsp of oil (olive, coconut, avocado, etc.), then add in your spice combo or keep them plain *my personal favorite combo is brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, but create your own and have fun with it!
Then spread the seeds out on the pan with room between each seed. Be sure to move them around while baking and in about 20-30 minutes (when they are light brown) they are ready to be removed. Let them cool off and enjoy!
3. Put it on your face. Pumpkin has great topical benefits so the best way to take advantage of them is to make a mask of course! All you need is...
1 tbsp. of cooked pumpkin
1 tsp. of raw honey or 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar for more oily or acne-prone skin
Mix and mash all of the ingredients, apply to skin and leave on for about 15 minutes.
Rinse off with cool water and your face will be glowing just like that Jack-o-lantern once did :)
4. Pumpkin protein shake. Tired of your plain chocolate and vanilla protein shakes, well now you can spice it up with some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice! Just add your scoop of protein and 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree (play with amounts depending on your preference in taste and consistency) and just a sprinkle of all-spice or pumpkin pie spice and you have a pumpkin spice protein shake.
5. Body scrub. Finally it is time to unwind and relax. Give yourself an at-home body scrub. For this you can use about 1-1 ½ cups of sugar and just add in ¼- ½ cup of pumpkin puree, a tbsp of olive oil and a tbsp of vegetable glycerin. To give the pumpkin spice aroma you can add a dash of pumpkin pie spice and just enjoy.