What to do With Leftover Pumpkins
Pumpkin carving has been ingrained in Halloween tradition for centuries. Yet, the respect we show these festive gourds doesn’t reflect the joy they bring us.
It has been reported that approximately 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin waste is binned every year.
Why is this such a problem? Other than the grand shame of wasting 18,000 tonnes of fantastic quality food, pumpkins produce methane when they decompose. Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
So, how can we prevent this?
Pumpkins are an incredibly versatile ingredient, lending their flavour to both sweet and savoury recipes. Their culinary possibilities are endless. Pumpkin flesh is also rich is vitamins C, E, and A, making them a fabulous addition to your diet.
Pumpkin flesh is very similar to other squashes; therefore, it is easy to imagine using them alongside recipes where squash would typically be used, or as a replacement. For example, it is very easy to slip pumpkin into curries, stews, soups, and even vegetable heavy pasta sauces or vegetable bakes.
Pumpkins also make a fantastic stand-alone snack, and can be made into chips, crisps, and a high-fibre toasted seed bowl.
Additionally, pumpkins are an incredible baking ingredient. While we have all heard of the timeless pumpkin pie, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate pumpkin into your bakes. Pumpkin flesh can be mashed and added to cake mix as a binding agent, as well as being great for jam-based recipes and crumbles.
Check out these amazing pumpkin recipes on Pinterest:
Feed The Wildlife
While the flesh of carved Jack-o’-lanterns might not agree with human tummies, it still makes a tasty and nutritious snack for other wildlife. Consider smashing them up into smaller chunks and leaving those in your garden, or in local woodland areas.
In the autumn months, birds will be busy filling their bodies with vital stores of proteins, vitamins, and healthy fats to help them through the winter. Pumpkin seeds are rich in all of these things.
This means that by leaving them out in your gardens, you could be providing birds with the energy they need. So why let them go to waste?
Here is an easy step-by-step guide from The Woodland Trust on how to make your own bird feeder:
Grow Your Own
Of course, there is always the possibility of starting your own little backyard pumpkin patch using seeds directly from the fruit. Or consider gifting the seeds to a friend who is keen to grow their own pumpkins.
Pumpkins cannot grow over winter, so it is ideal to save your seeds and keep them in a safe place until the following spring.
Pumpkin seeds need to be sown indoors in the spring months, ideally in a plant pot. It is recommended that you begin with two seeds in a pot, placed on their sides in healthy compost. They require lots of light, and warmth.
As the weather begins to heat up, you can begin leaving your plant pot outside to acclimatise your pumpkins to the warmer weather, and eventually, transfer the crop into your vegetable patch.
For a more detailed guide on how to grow your own pumpkins, check out these easy step-by-step guides by The English Garden:
Treat a Friend
Show your friends some love by treating them to your pumpkin creations. This could be as simple as popping round with a slice of homemade pumpkin pie, inviting them over for a pumpkin-packed dinner party, or gifting them a packet of seeds.
If you and your friends have a habit of over exhausting the pumpkin budget, then setting each other pumpkin-based cookery challenges could bring some joy to your post Halloween days. Share the love, as well as the burden of accidentally investing in too many festive gourds.
Because a small thoughtful gesture can go a long way.