Every year, the UK grows around 10 million pumpkins – 95% of which are bought at Halloween to be used as ghoulish lanterns or home decorations.
Despite the effort required, 40% of us buy fresh pumpkins to hollow out at home – but once we’ve removed the guts and seeds, 60% of us fail to do anything with the flesh, which simply gets chucked in the bin.
The waste leads to an annual throwaway of around 8 million pumpkins or 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin flesh, according to environmental charity Hubbub. This seasonal tradition isn’t helping efforts to reduce food waste, so we’ve rounded up four ways to make your pumpkin guts go further.
It’s time to green your Halloween.
Toast The Seeds
Don’t just scoop them straight into the bin. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fibre and can be turned into a nutritious snack or ingredient to add to things like soups or salads.
BBC Good Food recommends cleaning the seeds and then boiling them for ten minutes before draining them. Add a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet and cook in an oven at 120 degrees for 45 minutes and then, voila! Toasted pumpkin seeds. Who need those expensive snack packets from your sandwich shop. If you’re feeling fancy you can sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Whizz It Into A Soup Or Curry
Pumpkin flesh is soft, rich, and sweet, making it perfect for a soup. It’s best seasoned with chilli and coriander, according to this Jamie Oliver recipe which recommends roasting chunks in the oven for an hour before blending.
Of if you’re more of a Nigella fan, try your hand at transforming your pumpkin into her Thai red curry with coconut, lime leaves and lemon grass.
Serve It With Meat For Dinner
Pumpkin can be a hearty addition to any vegetarian or vegan meal – but it also goes a treat with bacon. You can chop up some of the pumpkin flesh and fry it in butter with diced bacon, onion and sage for a delicious pasta sauce.
Or you can cut it into wedges and roast it with sausages to serve with gravy.
Try Your Hand At A Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie, a Thanksgiving special in the US, also makes a delicious sweet treat for Halloween. It’s traditionally baked with shortcrust pastry and flavoured with spices including nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
The pumpkin flesh can be boiled, cooled and pureed before being added to beaten eggs, milk, butter, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. The mixture is then placed on top of the pastry and baked. If you fancy giving it a go, try out this BBC Good Food recipe here.