It's pumpkin season! Here are tips for saving money on pumpkins and getting the most out of the pumpkins that you purchase.
Last fall, I threw one of our old Jack O' Lanterns in my flowerbed beside the house to compost, and this year we don't have to buy pumpkins! Supposedly, volunteer plants like pumpkins don't produce fruit, but ours did! We've already picked 3 beautiful pumpkins and there are 8 more turning orange. so there's an idea for next year, at least.
Last year at our farmers market there was a seller that had quite a few pumpkins. The nicely shaped ones were quite a bit higher in price but he had a bunch of pumpkins that were misshaped for just $1. I got a couple of the $1 pumpkins, cooked and froze them for my winter baking. You might check that out.
Pick your own. Local farms and apple orchards often have pumpkins for sale too, and often you can pick your own.
Be sure to keep uncarved pumpkins out of direct sunlight. Once carved, rub Vaseline on the carved areas to keep your pumpkin even longer!
After carving them for Halloween, I simply turn them around and I have Thanksgiving decorations! I have done this for years. Just remember to throw them in the compost before they get too rotten!
Pumpkins are cheap this time of year. Here's a guide to freezing pumpkins for later use:
In the aftermath of Halloween, commercial pumpkin patches are left to rot. There are literally hundreds or thousands of all kinds of pumpkins and squashes that no one wants. It never hurts to ask the owner if you can glean from the field. Gleaning is a custom here in Idaho. I will be gleaning a potato field soon. We do grow our own spuds, but it's nice to have those extras on hand. You can take as many as you want after the farmer has harvested what he wants. Some people fill up the bed of their pickup and take bags of spuds around to the needy. Interestingly, the farmer does not harvest the biggest potatoes. They are too large for the french fry equipment to process. So the one pounders get left in the field. Just get there before they freeze. Yum!
Although it is fun to have the pumpkins around for all of October I have often purchased our 7 (because we have 5 children) the Sunday before halloween. They are discounted close to the holiday. We never carve until the weekend before, because as you know they don't last long after carving. We do let the kids draw faces on early. Washable markers are fun for making lots of different faces.
When they were a bit smaller, it seemed perfectly acceptable to them that the pumpkins be sized according to the size of the child. In fact, the littlest loved that her pumpkin was recognizably the littlest also. It really helps cut costs when you aren't just buying the bigger ones. You may also capitalize on the discounted oddly shaped pumpkins by having kids draw their pumpkin head on paper and then finding the closest match the the shape each child draws.
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