Zero Waste Halloween: Save Your Pumpkin From The Bin
I love Halloween…pumpkin carving, spooky latte art, bobbing for apples. I’m here for all of it. Sadly though, Halloween is a really wasteful time of year. Think about how many sweet wrappers must get thrown away, that is truly scary! Every year we send millions of pumpkins to landfill.
An estimated 10m pumpkins are grown in the UK every year, 95% of which will be hollowed out in lanterns for Halloween. The UK bins around 8m pumpkins after Halloween, the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the entire nation (Guardian 2018).
Pumpkins are part of the squash family and they are usually large, round and vibrant orange with a slightly ribbed, tough and smooth outer skin. Inside the pumpkin are the seeds and flesh. When cooked, the whole pumpkin is edible – the skin, pulp and seeds – you just need to remove the stringy bits which hold the seeds in place.
Pumpkin is a great source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A. It also contains some minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins E, C and some B vitamins (BBCgoodfood). Also it actually tastes really good…
I’ve put together a list of recipes, delicious things you could make with your leftover pumpkin to save it from the bin!
Some pumpkins are inedible and specified as “for ornamental use only” but the flesh of the majority is edible. If yours is one of the inedible minority just pop it in the compost bin. If not..read on!
5 Pumpkin Recipe Ideas…
1. Pumpkin Pie
It had to be first on the list, this American classic is taking the UK by storm. We all love a pumpkin spice latte (don’t pretend you don’t) so why not take that delicious spiced autumn flavour one step further and have it in this sweet and sticky pie. There are loads of variations of this recipe, a lot of them have some pretty mad ingredients which are common in the US, harder to find in stores in the UK. This BBC Good Food recipe is really straight forward and all the ingredients are easy to find. I bet you’ll already have a lot of them in your cupboard.
2. Pumpkin Soup
You can roast a pumpkin really easily, once its’ roasted it is super easy to make soup. There is nothing quite as warming and comforting as homemade soup on a cold autumn day. The recipe below is for a classic pumpkin soup but there are lots of variations you can do with this too. Think curried pumpkin soup, pumpkin and bacon, pumpkin and lentil etc.
You could even freeze some if you’ve got a bit too much, divide it into portions and defrost over the winter months as you like.
3. Pumpkin Houmous
I love Halloween and I love houmous, so this recipe is a bit of me! It’s really simple but really tasty too. I love the idea of using a hollowed out pumpkin as a bowl for the houmous, perfect if you’re having a get together. We’re having a Halloween party on Saturday and I’m definitely going to make this. I’ll be putting extra garlic into mine, but that’s just who I am.
Kudos to BBC Good Food for this genius recipe.
(Image:BBC Good Food)
4. Pumpkin Risotto
This autumnal dish is a warming and hearty and delcious. The recipe below is for a classic risotto and it’s really yummy, you can also make risotto without dairy. You just need add a little stock at a time, keep the temperate low and keep stirring! The risotto rice has lots of starch so it will go nice and creamy if you continuously stir it, without the need for adding any cheese. You can make this recipe all through winter using butternut squash instead of pumpkin. They’re very similar!
(Image: Maja Smend for Sainsbury’s Magazine)
5. Honey Roast Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
This delcious salad from Nourish Everyday is the perfect winter salad. Sometimes a salad can seem a bit light for our gloomy wintery days but this salad with quinoa and roast pumpkin is hearty and and filling enough whilst still being super healthy. A yummy tea but also a great lunch if you meal prep.
(Image: Nourish Everyday)
Don’t forget about the seeds!
You can save the seeds too. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted, then sprinkled onto salads or Buddha bowls or even porridge. They’re a good snack on their own too. Minimalist Baker has this great step by step guide of how to seperate and roast your pumpkin seeds.
Compost Compost Compost.
Lastly, any bits of pumpkin that are left over at the end, pop them in your compost bin and keep them out of landfill.
These recipe ideas are just some of my favourites, there are loads more ideas online, just have a google or look on Pinterest. I hope you enjoy making something tasty out of your would-be-wasted pumpkins. Happy Halloween!