I love pumpkins. Love them. I get so excited when the pumpkin bins start appearing in grocery stores. I know they’ll soon be filled with rich round pumpkins that shout fall and bring on cooler weather. On your front porch, in your tummy, on your face, or in your home — pumpkins are simply good for you.
Let’s think about pumpkins. All summer they lie around in a field, soaking up the sun. They’re connected by vines to other pumpkins and roots that take nutrients and water out of the soil and send it along. Although they don’t look like they’re doing much, these pumpkins are growing and transforming those nutrients, water, and sunshine into powerful antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals and storing them in the pulp, leaves and seeds. All of this translates into good news for our bodies and our skin.
The pumpkins’ bright orange colors indicate foods that are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that has anti-aging properties and fights free radicals. Plus, pumpkins have substantial amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, the amino acid tryptophan, and natural enzymes. For your body, this translates into better eye, prostate, and heart health; support for those with rheumatism; even a better mood from the serotonin-producing tryptophan that helps us relax and unwind.
Now for the skin. Let’s take pumpkin pulp and put it on our faces. All of the nutrients you ingested are now sitting right on your skin. The vitamin C is brightening your skin, the beta-carotene is protecting your skin from UV exposure and pollutants. Plus, that pumpkin pulp contains enzymes — a known exfoliate that translates into polished skin. This should give you reason to celebrate pumpkins!
So ponder this one. Enzymes leave our skin extra-sensitive to the sun, right? Well, pumpkins also have the beta carotene that protects skin from ultraviolet rays. As often happens in nature, an issue created by one component of the fruit or plant is corrected and compensated for by another component. Nature is truly balanced.
Pumpkin Pie! Oh My!
This recipe is from Little Rock Cooks published in 1972 by the Junior League of Little Rock. I haven’t cooked all of the 880 recipes, but almost. This one for pumpkin pie is one of my favorites!
1/3 cup pecans chopped
Cream butter and sugar; add pecans. Press on top of prepared pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°. Cool. Reduce oven to 350° for later use.
Honey (not included in original recipe)
Scald milk with water in a small pan. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, salt and spices. Beat in milk mixture. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake at350° for 50 minutes or until set but soft.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream with a drizzle of honey on top (a long-standing family tradition).
Pumpkin on Your Face
Now we’re going to take the recipe above, slice and dice it a bit, and create three skin care recipes using the exact same ingredients. For each recipe, mix ingredients, use as recommended, and store the remainder for up to a week in your refrigerator. I always use organic products for skin care products whenever possible.
This mask will leave your skin soft and glowing. Use on face, hands, and feet. Do not use on sensitive décolleté. This should leave your skin feeling warm, clean and nourished.
This scrub is for the body, not the face — the salt and sugar are too rough. Use at the end of the shower after washing then just rinse off — the oil will leave you feeling smooth all day.
1 drop clove oil (optional)
1 tsp honey
A Well-crafted Pumpkin
Every year I bring home many pumpkins — large and small — where they grace tables, sideboards and front steps through November (okay, maybe sometime after January). My favorite is the Musque de Provenance or Fairytale pumpkin. I’m sure that with the wave of a wand this pumpkin could spirit a princess off to a ball after sprouting wheels, a driver’s seat and hitch for horses.
This year I added a bit of sparkle to my pumpkins. Mixing glitter with Martha Stewart Crafts Gilttering Glue and a bit of water, I brushed this mixture over the the pumpkins’ “shoulders.” It made for a super sheen and it was super easy. That’s it. I love them just the way they are.
As you might imagine, pumpkin products abound! Here are three of my favorites:
I purchased this at one of the spa shows, just to give it a try. I am out now — having used it several times a week — and am going to order another tube. The smell is wonderful (I suppose you really shouldn’t eat your face scrub), the size of the granules are perfect, and it leaves your skin feeling smooth and healthy. Highly recommended.
I’m on my second jar of this mis-named mud mask. The base for this tingly, warming mask is organic pumpkin puree. Now I have to admit, my face is a bit red when I take it off, but it goes away quickly and I always feel like my skin looks clearer and brighter after use.
This candle makes my house smell the way my front door looks — filled with pumpkins. It makes me simply sigh with the richness of it. You can often find this brand at Home Goods.