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How to Recycle Halloween Pumpkins

Recycled pumpkins

All kids love halloween and carving their annual Jack-O-Lantern but did you know that we’ll collectively waste £26.7 million worth of uneaten pumpkins this Halloween. That’s quite a frightening figure, isn’t it?

Instead of discarding your pumpkins once the spooky season is over it’s worth noting that pumpkins are far more versatile than mere Halloween decorations and it’s a good lesson in recycling and upcycling, to see what other uses you can find for your pumpkin treasures after Halloween. Did you know you can eat almost all of your pumpkin from the seeds to the skin? The only part you can’t eat is the stalk or the parts you’ve burnt a candle in!

We have seven surprising things you can do with your pumpkin. How many of these ideas will you give a try?

1. Roast up Pumpkin Wedges, Soups, Pies & Cookies

Let’s add a touch of creativity to your family movie night this Halloween season, with a hint of Thai-inspired pumpkin magic! Instead of your regular chips, how about roasting up some scrumptious pumpkin wedge chips ‘n’ dips? There’s no need to fuss over peeling your pumpkin. Simply slice it into wedges, keeping the skin on, coat them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and parmesan, and pop them in the oven to roast. Serve these wedges with your kids’ favorite dips. They’re sure to adore the pumpkin hummus – it’s quick to prepare and a delight to savor!

You can also peel the skin from your pumpkin pieces and turn the flesh into soups, baked into pumpkin pies, savories and even mixed with oats for some healthy cookies or muffins. An added bonus is that pumpkin is packed full of all those super nutrients kids need, from vitamins C & E to beta-carotene. If you found yourself with multiple creepy critters to dispose of, fear not as the flesh can easily be cut and stored in individual bags in the freezer for use at a later stage.

Pumpkins pies

2. Create a Wildlife Feeder

Now, what do you do with those hollowed-out pumpkins you’ve illuminated with candles for that eerie Halloween ambiance? Fear not; they have another purpose! Birds absolutely relish pumpkin and aren’t deterred by a few singed bits. Leave the pumpkin outside for them to enjoy, or fill it with bird seed or nuts for a little snacking fest.

3. Use Leftover Pumpkins to Make Bread

Now, let’s turn to a delightful culinary endeavor for those cute, seasonal mini-pumpkins or squashes you come across in the vegetable aisle. How about whipping up some delectable pumpkin bread? Borrow this recipe from none other than the talented chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This pumpkin bread works wonders with onion squash (resembling a miniature pumpkin), kabocha squash (the little green one), or the regal Crown Prince squash (with its striking blue hue). The secret ingredient here is 200g of finely grated raw pumpkin, complemented by raisins, ground almonds, and a touch of lemon zest. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Pumpkin breads

4. Plant your Own Pumpkins for Next Halloween

Lastly, consider engaging in some gardening fun with the kids. Planting pumpkin seeds and nurturing them to grow your very own pumpkins for next Halloween is an exciting project. You’ll require some pumpkin seeds, soil, and a few pots. Don’t forget, you can even use seeds from supermarket pumpkins. After rinsing the seeds, plant them in the soil.

5. Make Pumpkin-themed Christmas Gifts

Homemade gifts can be a thoughtful and budget-friendly option for your family and friends. How about delighting them with a jar of homemade pumpkin chutney? To make this flavorful treat, gather 750g of pumpkin flesh, which is the perfect way to make use of the insides left after carving. This recipe also incorporates pumpkin seeds, a blend of spices, apples, and sultanas.

Now, here’s a crucial food safety tip: use the flesh from your hollowed-out pumpkin immediately or store it in the freezer for later use. Once you’ve whipped up your delectable chutney, allow it to cool, and then spoon it into jars. Add a touch of holiday charm by decorating the jars with ribbons and homemade tags. It’s a wonderful, heartfelt Christmas gift.

6. Add your Pumpkin to your Compost

For those of us who might not be inclined to cook with our pumpkin, here’s a greener way to dispose of it. Consider adding it to your compost. Throwing food in the general waste ends up in landfills, where it can’t decompose properly and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. So, make a sustainable choice by tossing your pumpkin into a food waste bin or your compost.

Pumpkin compost

7. Make Drinks!

Now, let’s get creative with our pumpkin this Halloween season. Your pumpkin can be transformed into a variety of delightful drinks, from smoothies to, believe it or not, mulled wine. Start your day with a pumpkin pie smoothie or venture into the realm of fermented pumpkin and apple soda, which packs a probiotic punch.

For those looking for a bit more kick in their drinks, how about trying your hand at pumpkin ale homebrew or crafting some pumpkin mulled wine? This particular recipe even makes use of the stringy bits around the pumpkin seeds, leaving no part of the pumpkin to waste.

So, no matter what type of pumpkin you have or which part you’re looking to repurpose, there are easy, creative, and inventive solutions to make the most of this Halloween season! Happy crafting and repurposing!

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