It was a sad event when the moss hanging baskets that were filled with impatiens and creeping jenny had to come down last week. I like seeing something decorative hanging from hooks along the veranda. With that in mind, I came up with the idea of creating twine cradles for pumpkins.
Replace hanging baskets with easy-to-make hanging pumpkins.
Carla Allen photo
I cut six two-foot lengths of twine, tied them together in a knot at the bottom and top and hung this from a hook. I set a pumpkin in the cradle, separating each strand of twine around it. The grooves on the pumpkin helped to keep each strand in place. Then I tucked some silk autumn foliage from the dollar store into the bottom of the cradle. When the pumpkin stopped twirling, I drew a face on the side facing outwards. Use a marker or paint to darken up your artwork.
There are other ideas for pumpkins besides using them for jack-o-lanterns.
Cut a giant pumpkin in half, scoop out the interior; fill it with ice and use as a cooler for bottles during a party.
Cut out the top of a miniature pumpkin and insert a tea light. You could turn it into a spider by poking black pipe cleaners into its sides. Bend these to form legs.
Hollow out a flat-bottomed pumpkin and make a fall arrangement in it. Or fill it with sand and stick tapered candles in it (Remember never to leave candles unattended).
Spray-paint pumpkins gold or silver. Wrap a pumpkin in cheesecloth to make a “mummy-pumpkin.”
After you do carve out a few pumpkins for Halloween, don’t forget to save the seeds. They’re high in essential amino acids, zinc and contain a large variety of minerals and other vital nutrients, such as iron, protein and fiber. These tasty snacks can be used in tossed salads, casseroles, soups, and other baked goods, either ground or whole.
To roast them remove as much fiber as possible. Spread them out on a baking sheet and let stand overnight to dry out (or place in a 200-degree oven one hour), then toss with a little olive oil and roast in a 350-degree oven 20 minutes. Toss with sea or smoked salt.
Make cajun pumpkin seeds by tossing them in a mixture of one tablespoon of melted butter with two dashes of Worcestershire sauce.