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If you're anything like us, you're taking full advantage of all the quintessential fall activities by going apple picking, having spooky Halloween movie marathons and going leaf-peeping as the trees burst with color. Next on the list: pumpkin patch frolicking.
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Grab the kids or a loved one and hit up your local pumpkin patch for a leisurely afternoon filled with fresh air (and most likely, tasty treats). If you've already made a trip to the pumpkin patch and have a few pumpkins lying around that you're not quite sure what to do with, we're here to help. Turn your pumpkins into pumpkin pie, puree, painted décor and even mac and cheese this season. Whether you prefer to bake, decorate or store your pumpkins for later, here are 10 ways to make the most of pumpkin season.
1. Carve your pumpkins with ease
Is it really spooky season if you don't carve your own pumpkins? Set up a pumpkin carving night with family to make some creative carvings and long-lasting memories. While a pumpkin carving tool isn't necessarily a high-stakes purchase, buying the right one can help to create a precise carving (and, can help keep your hands and fingers safe from accidental cuts or knicks). Our favorite pumpkin carving kit we've ever tested happens to be a classic, basic kit with festive orange accents: The Pumpkin Masters All-In-One Kit. Yes, it looks like cheap plastic, but the old-school style carving kit comes with four tools that are fast, safe and effective in carving your precious pumpkins with ease.
2. Make this fun pumpkin mac and cheese recipe
One reason we love fall so much is simply the fact that there are so many festive recipes to try, from tried-and-true recipes passed down from generations to new recipes you found on TikTok. We recommend a delightful savory pumpkin mac and cheese recipe for your next fall get-together.
To make a one-pot pumpkin mac and cheese like this one from USA TODAY's ProblemSolved, we recommend using a quality stainless steel stockpot like one from the Cuisinart Multiclad 12-Piece Cookware Set. As our best value choice for cookware sets for induction cooking, the Cuisinart set offers incredible performance at a decent price—the stockpot is especially great for pasta and soup, too.
You can also try using a trusty slow cooker for your fall-inspired mac and cheese dish. We prefer the Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central after testing a variety of slow cookers, as we found it cooks food to perfection and is super easy to use.
3. Bake a top-notch pumpkin pie
In the great debate of which pie is the best pie, we'd say pumpkin pie is up there as a top contender. No matter if you're baking a pumpkin pie from scratch or using store-bought ingredients (hey, both are equally as delicious), you'll need a great pie dish for your fresh-baked goods.
Out of all the pie dishes we put to the test (by baking delicious pies in them, of course), we found the Emile Henry Modern Classics Pie Dish to be the best one. It's a beautiful addition to your baking collection that's sure to impress guests. Not to mention, it's dishwasher, microwave and high-heat safe.
4. Make your own pumpkin puree
If you find you've collected quite a few pumpkins in your home this month, you can go beyond quick desserts and make pumpkin bases like a pumpkin puree. Pumpkin puree can be used in tons of recipes, plus it can be used to add a pumpkin-y touch to your oatmeal, a pot of chili or even in your morning cup of joe. Making a whipped puree for your latte is actually quite easy—all you'll need is your pumpkins (baked in the oven) and a food processor to create that air-light consistency.
We've tested plenty of food processors and found the Cuisinart "Custom 14" to excel at any task in the kitchen, so we're sure this processor can handle whipping up a smooth and delicious pumpkin puree. This food processer is also space-saving and relatively quiet for a blending device.
5. Paint your pumpkins
Another way to adorn your home with pumpkin décor is by painting your pumpkins. Get the family together for a weekend of painting fun—just make sure you've got the right supplies before you start. We'd recommend top-rated acrylic paints that'll stick to your pumpkin surfaces, like this 12-pack of colorful paints found on Amazon. Reviewers love that the paint is good quality at an even better price.
The brushes that you use can help you to really get creative. You can use classic nylon paintbrushes to create fine strokes and details. Art sponges are also great tools for creating a funky stippling effect on the pumpkins.
6. Bake a delicious loaf of pumpkin bread
Pumpkin bread is a fan-favorite dessert during the fall season. If you've got a plethora of pumpkins lying around, break out your baking materials and prepare to make a yummy loaf. For a loaf pan that's been tested and approved by the Reviewed team, the Rachael Ray Yum-o! Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan is hard to beat. It can fit a large capacity of loaf (who can argue with more pumpkin bread?) and features a dark nonstick material that allows the bread to develop a delicious crust. The pan also has large, silicone handles that make handling the pan easy.
7. Make your own pumpkin pizza
Wait, did we just say pumpkin pizza? Yes, we did, and—spoiler alert—it's delicious. ProblemSolved shared a pumpkin pizza recipe that creates the perfect union of sweet and savory that is sure to be a hit for family dinners or while watching Sunday Night Football. If you've never made your own pizza at home, don't worry—all you need is a few tools to make the perfect pizza.
A pizza stone can help elevate your pizzas to restaurant-quality levels. Our favorite one is the Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Pizza Pan. This portable pan is safe to use in ovens, grills and even on campfires and really retains its heat when cooking. It also happens to be the easiest to clean out of all the ones we tested.
Of course, you'll need a pizza cutter to slice up your pizza and serve. For a highly efficient cutter that's perfect for pizza parties specifically, we love Dreamfarm Scizza Pizza Scissors that can make it through even the thickest crust and gooiest cheese.
8. Can pumpkins to use for later
If you've taken home one too many pumpkins, don't worry—you can still store your precious picks for future recipes. Like other fruits and vegetables, you can jar or can pumpkin for future purees, butters and more fall treats. All you need is a pot for boiling your pumpkin in and mason jars the result. The Ball Mason Wide Mouth Jars are perfect for canning—they're airtight and are sure to keep your goods fresh for a long time.
9. Whip up pumpkin ice cream
While we're on the topic of creative pumpkin recipes: Pumpkin ice cream is a thing, and we're sure you'll love it if you love all things pumpkin. ProblemSolved's pumpkin ice cream recipe is a sweet fall treat to share with friends and family—and it's surprisingly easy to make at home, too. For this recipe, you'll need to whip cream to get it ready to become ice cream and a good hand mixer can help you make fluffy cream in an instant. The best hand mixer we've ever tested is the Cuisinart Power Advantage Hand Mixer. It's easy to handle, features intuitive speed controls that are easy to work with and the attachments are dishwasher safe.
10. Roast pumpkin seeds for a snack
Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious to snack on, no matter the season. To make your own perfectly roasted seeds, you'll need a good baking sheet to evenly cook them to the ideal level of crispiness. The Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet is our favorite baking sheet because of it's even heat distribution and because it is large enough to cook many seeds at once, but surprisingly lightweight making it easy to handle.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: What to do with pumpkin: pie, puree, carving, pumpkin bread, seeds