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.
- 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.
- 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!