10 (ish) Things to Do With Pumpkins Besides Carve Them

Pumpkins in parking lots. Pumpkins in patches. Pumpkins on church lawns. Mountains of pumpkins rising up beside the front doors of every grocery store in Dallas. The arboretum is building houses out of them. How many jack-o'-lanterns can one city carve? (And don't tell us you use fresh pumpkin for your pumpkin pies. We're not buying it.) Luckily, there's a lot more you can do with a pumpkin than carve it — or smash someone else's artfully carved pumpkin on the street. In fact, there are exactly 10 other things to do with pumpkins.

1. Put one on your lap and check out Martha Stewart for inspiration
Whether you need to know how to bake a fish in salt, store pottery tools or fashion a miniature replica of Gaudi's Casa Mila out of ribbon, Martha Stewart is your how-to shaman. She also happens to be a wonderful resource for autumnal crafts. From turning hum-drum paper lanterns into cheerful reminders of fall or glittering the shit out of anything remotely pumpkin-shaped, Martha Stewart can show you how to incorporate gourds into virtually every aspect of your waking day.

2. Salute man's best friend
Pumpkin carving is an obvious choice, but we're not referring to the triangle eyes and snaggletooth smiles of Halloweens' past. Rather, we suggest you carve a startlingly accurate portrait of your dog's face. Just think how grand Sammy or Max would look, their countenances backlit by the soft flicker of candlelight. In order to do justice to the project we suggest you take a day off work to hand-stencil your pooch's picture. But if you must betray the integrity of the project by using one of Better Homes and Gardens' various templates, so be it.

3. Soup one up
When life gives you gourds, make soup. Courtesy of Epicurious, this curried pumpkin soup, perfumed with cardamom, ginger and coriander, makes for an excellent dinner on a chilly fall night. Or just set your air conditioner to 60 degrees and use your imagination. Either way, this rich, intensely flavored soup uses pantry staples — canned pumpkin and coconut milk — making it an easy, delicious weeknight meal. 

4. Eat them
Heidi Swason is the Barry Manilow of the vegetarian and vegan recipe blogosphere; she writes the recipes that make crunchy granola types sing. Her recipes also appeal to carnivores who aren't afraid to put down the chicken and embrace the chickpea. This time of year, her website 101 Cookbooks is replete with ideas for turning seasonal vegetables into dishes that are healthy, exciting and most important of all, super tasty. Try this salad, with cubes of oven roasted pumpkin, wild rice and a cilantro-forward dressing.

5. Drink them
Put them in beer. Or, if you don't know the first thing about anaerobic fermentation, buy beer that someone else has put pumpkins in. Better yet, buy all of the pumpkin beers, invite your friends over and have a pumpkin beer flight taste test. 

6. Glam them
Glitter more pumpkins. If, during the glitter-adorning process, you run out of glitter (as is wont to happen), do not declare the project over. Proceed to the closest craft supply store. Stumble in and cry "GLITTER, I NEED GLITTER." Clerks at such stores are trained to deal with this very circumstance and will earnestly offer assistance. Lean in. 

7. Buy them
Buy them. Buy lots of them. Go to the nicest nursery in Dallas and pick out one pumpkin in every shape, size and color. Surprise yourself when you realize you just spent the month's mortgage on gourds. Drive home. Put the gourds on your patio. Consult Pinterest as to what you are supposed to do with all of these damn pumpkins. Become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of search results, other people's apparent competency at craft projects and a general sense that you are incapable of doing much of anything. Go to bed for two months. Throw away pumpkins after the smell becomes pungent but before they are too soft to pick up. 

8. Bump them

Try to snort them. Hey, you never know.

9. Bake them
Bake up a batch of these pumpkin and ginger scones. Courtesy of Martha Rose Shulman and The New York Times, these candied ginger-studded scones are made with whole wheat flour and are lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Paired with a cup of coffee, they will make starting your day seem slightly less God-awful.

10. Put them in a cup
Speaking of coffee, you didn't think we were going to get through an entire Top 10 list without including pumpkin spice lattes, did you? Out of respect for basic white girls — to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for making stretchy pants socially acceptable — we must mention the pumpkin spice latte. The PLT is currently being sold at a Starbucks near you, but a fairly close approximation can also be made at home. Visit The Kitchn for a recipe that's sure to please the UGG-wearer within. 
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Kathryn DeBruler
Contact: Kathryn DeBruler