Pumpkins and gourds – great for party decor!

October 25, 2022Lauren Windle

Did you know that Indiana is one of the largest pumpkin producers in the country? Absolutely true. Indiana farmers are consistently in the top 5 states for pumpkin production, according to Indiana Business Journal.

So why not gather up a colorful array of Indiana pumpkins and gourds this season -- providing instant fall décor for your home or especially wonderful for barn parties or those centered around a deck and a bonfire.

“There are hundreds of pumpkin varieties, ” says Elizabeth Maynard, Horticulture Professor at Purdue’s College of Agriculture. “If you include all the various species of pumpkins, also known as winter squashes, there’s a massive array of shapes, sizes, colors and flavors.”

They are inexpensive, festive and very good to eat, too. Locally-grown pumpkins are delicious and nutritious, providing an excellent source of fiber, beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc, folate, and potassium.

Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering recommends getting creative with pumpkin décor inside and outside your home:

  • Use them as table centerpieces, mixing gourds with pumpkins of all sizes and colors. Add rustic candles between.
  • Stack larger pumpkins on and around bales of hay for your barn party
  • Add interest to corners (outside and in) using groups of three – with the largest pumpkin in the back – two smaller pumpkins to the front right and front left.
  • Add black and white ribbon bows in stripes and polka dots to pumpkin stems. Fun!
  • Make a stack of three pumpkins for either side of your front door. Use a plant stake to keep pumpkins from falling.

Jacquie uses fresh cooked pumpkin instead of canned in her fall recipes. She says the taste is fresher, and the texture is richer. Try fresh pumpkin in your fall baking:

  • Add to pancake or waffle batter
  • Make pumpkin bread (got a banana bread recipe? Just substitute pumpkin for bananas)
  • Make pumpkin flan (very easy!)
  • Substitute pumpkin for carrots in your favorite Carrot Cake recipe
  • Add fresh pumpkin chunks to frozen potatoes next time you make breakfast
  • Add (cooled) cooked lightly sweetened pumpkin (pro tip: use maple syrup) to vanilla ice cream for instant pumpkin ice cream. Be sure to mix well!
  • Add it to your dog’s dry food, say veterinarians; the vitamins, minerals and fiber are great for them!

P.S: Dogs aren’t the only animals who love pumpkin! After Halloween, cut carved pumpkins in half and place them under a bushes or trees at the edge of your property. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons love them, too!



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