Here we are, smack in the middle of pumpkin season, and you’re probably finding yourself knee-deep in festive orange, gold and green displays all over your home or apartment. I’m the same way. I love a good gourd, but good GOURD what do I do with all of them after Thanksgiving ends and Christmas or Hanukkah comes comes around? 

I went searching for ideas, and I think you should know the possibilities are endless.

The incredible, edible gourd

This may blow your mind, but did you know that some gourds, including mini-pumpkins are edible? Just like their larger cousins, you can use the innards of a small pumpkin in a seasonal recipe. Pumpkin pie doesn’t end with Thanksgiving, and this Christmas-time classic can be enhanced with the flavor from smaller gourds like the spiny butter gourd or the easily recognizable mini-pumpkin. Spiny gourds are used in curries and soups only after being cooked. Raw, they can be far too bitter and inedible so be sure to cut, gut and boil or roast the meat of the gourd before serving. The same goes for the mini-pumpkin, where roasting is the best option pre-consumption.

Of course, for the larger pumpkin in your life that never met an end with a knife to be turned into a jack-o-lantern, turning the meat into a pumpkin mousse, pie, or other baked good is always an option. Don’t forget how tasty and beneficial roasted pumpkin seeds can be, too.

Break out the paint

Who says that pumpkins and gourds need to be strictly seasonal for the fall months? As you can see on our header image, painting your gourds with a rich color and a glittery finish can suddenly turn your natural and autumnal display into an eye-catching holiday display. Use an acrylic paint on a gourd that has already been finished with polyurethane or any other typical varnish used on woods. According to the American Gourd Society, once a gourd has been finished with this, it is basically a craft item, so get creative!

Things you never knew a gourd could hold

Are you looking for a new, strange way to make music? Hollow out a gourd and finish it. Fill it with beans. You will have an instant maraca. Others have created canteens out of gourds for an eco-friendly container for your water.

Of course, remember that most are shellacked to withstand the elements of time and to not rot while holding a decorative place in your cornucopia. This means they may be harder to cut open, and may not withstand being baked or even consumed. Take precautions. And like most things, you may eventually need to throw out the gourd. But have a little fun before you take it to the trash.
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