October is the month of the mighty pumpkin! From making delicious food to putting your pumpkin to use in the garden, there are more ways to use a pumpkin than you’d think.
It’s estimated that 14.5 million pumpkins will go to waste this October in the UK alone! After carving, most pumpkins guts are thrown away along with their seeds. Whilst jack-o-lanterns have made pumpkins incredibly popular a horrifying amount of pumpkins go uneaten and unused every year.
Tossing your pumpkin straight into the rubbish bin after 31st October leads to landfills producing more methane – a greenhouse gas even more dangerous than carbon dioxide.
Not only this, but the resources used to grow your pumpkin in the first place are wasted. The amount of water, energy and fuel used to grow and transport the pumpkin into your home all contributes to climate change.
So, this year, don’t let the mighty pumpkin go to waste. Here are six fun ways to use every part of a pumpkin and have an eco-friendly Halloween:
1. Delicious pumpkin soup
BBC Good Food has an amazing recipe for the best pumpkin soup. This is the perfect recipe for a cosy afternoon lunch, or a delicious starter for your next dinner party with friends. A silky smooth soup that will warm the cockles of your heart.
The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need many ingredients or hours to make it. You probably have most of the ingredients already in your cupboard!
If you’re planning on making this recipe, we suggest using a pumpkin that hasn’t been carved and displayed outside. Dirt and bugs can make their way into your pumpkin, even if it’s washed, so use a pumpkin that hasn’t been used as a jack-o-lantern.
2. Pumpkin pie
Another classic BBC Good Food recipe. This American treat is perfect for your next Sunday roast pudding. Lightly spiced, it tastes like autumn in a bowl! To skip a few steps, you can also use a pre made pastry base.
Again, for this recipe, we suggest using pumpkins that haven’t been carved. Try visiting your local market towards the end of October to see if they have any last pumpkins before they’re tossed away.
3. Baked pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are nutritious and delicious! For this recipe, you can use seeds that have been carved out of your pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern. You can use any seasoning you fancy. Our favourites are pizza flavoured, cinnamon sugar and buffalo ranch.
Pumpkin seeds have so many health benefits, including improving heart and bladder health! Not only this, but they’re a great snack when you’re feeling peckish and they can keep for a long time.
4. Bake pumpkin bread
If you’re sick and tired of making banana bread, we beg you to try this delicious pumpkin bread recipe! As a bonus, you can also use some of your pumpkin seeds to give this bread a little bit of a nutty texture.
This is a really straight forward recipe and if you’re partial to a spot of baking, you probably have all of these ingredients in your cupboard already! Plus, the recipe uses fresh pumpkin, so there’s no need to use pumpkin puree. To prep your pumpkin, peel off the skin and pop the pumpkin flesh into a blender or food processor.
5. Make a bird feeder
If you’re not a fan of baking, try using your old jack-o-lantern as a bird feeder in your garden! Pop some bird feed or fats into your pumpkin and let the local birds peck away. They’ll also eat your pumpkin, so you can cut some up and leave it out for them.
Simply cut your pumpkin in half, poke a hole through the flesh and hook some string or wire through the holes to hang it in your chosen spot.
6. Compost it
Once you’re thoroughly finished with your pumpkin, you can put it in your compost bin or pile! It’s really simple to prep your pumpkin for the compost, simply remove any decorations and seeds, cut your pumpkin into pieces (around 6cm pieces is fine) and let your compost do the rest!
If you’re new to composting, the Royal Horticultural Society has a great guide on how to get started. You can start your compost at any time of year and they’re the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your food waste. You can even sell your compost once you have a well established heap (it usually 6 months – 2 years for a compost to reach maturity).
Looking for more information on how to store, prep and cook your pumpkin, visit the BBC Good Food website. Or maybe you want to commit to a greener Halloween this year? Our guide has three easy ways to have an eco-friendly Halloween.