Carving a pumpkin for Halloween? Make the most of it by using up the insides, with our quick ideas for how to use up leftover pumpkin.
We barely see them all year and then October comes around and we can’t escape their orange faces.
A staggering 15 million pumpkins are grown in the UK every year, but how many of us have actually eaten one of them? Shockingly, over half of them (around eight million) are only used for carving, and come the 1st November they’re dumped in the rubbish.
The amount of pumpkins thrown away each year would be enough to serve up 360 million slices of pumpkin pie or provide every person in the country with bowl of pumpkin soup.
To reduce your pumpkin waste, you could consider ordering a Halloween box from food-waste fighting subscription service Oddbox. They’re a social enterprise that fights food waste at farm level, working directly with farmers to rescue ‘ugly’ but just as tasty produce and deliver it straight to London’s homes and offices for 30 per cent cheaper than similar services.
‘Last year we rescued 1,800 pumpkins. We took them on just one week for Halloween. If we do the same this year, we’ll likely rescue closer to 7000. That’s one pumpkin per customer box,’ explains Oddbox co-founder Emilie Vanpoperinghe.
They were inspired by environmental charity Hubbub who started the yearly #pumpkinrescue campaign, saving 1325 pumpkins and serving 1673 bowls of soup to hungry shoppers at their Oxford festival.
A survey conducted by Hubbub found that although four in five people said they wanted to reduce their food waste, more than half admitted that they do not see pumpkin as food. However, it’s packed full of immune-boosting vitamins, such as A and C.
And, once you’ve carved your Jack o’Lantern, there are even more things you can do to transform a pumpkin into a delicious dinner. We’ve listed some delicious ideas below.
Once you slice open the top of your pumpkin, it’s going to be messy inside. You’ll scoop out a mix of stringy bits, seeds and pumpkin flesh, depending on the pumpkin and your designs on it. Pile it up in a large bowl as you get creative and once you’ve got your scary pumpkin lit up in the window, turn your attention back to the insides.
Throw the very stringy bits into your compost or food bin, but save the rest.
Roast pumpkin seeds
Rinse any stringy pulp from the seeds then pat dry with kitchen towel. Toss the seeds with a little oil and salt, then bake them in the oven at 180C for around 10 minutes, or until the seeds are lightly golden brown. Experiment with mixing in different herbs and spices before you roast the seeds to make a flavoured snack. Store them in an airtight container so you can come back to them as a snack, sprinkle over a salad or stir into a yoghurt with granola.
Make pumpkin pie
Carving pumpkins tend to have a higher water content, which makes them perfect for pureeing. This pumpkin pie recipe needs 500g pumpkin flesh, which is steamed and pureed to make the spiced pie filling. Store the pumpkin flesh in a sealed container in the fridge so you can make the pie the next day.
Try pumpkin soup
This easy and nutritious Halloween pumpkin soup makes a tasty family meal any day of the week, but you can add a spider’s web on top for Halloween.
Bake a pumpkin cake
Staying in this weekend? Use your pumpkin leftovers to make a cake, like this autumnal pumpkin cupcake with maple icing recipe, which uses 200g pumpkin flesh – you’ll easily have enough from a carved pumpkin. The best thing about vegetable cakes is that the veg often replaces part or all of the butter to make a healthier bake, which is more nutritious.
If you don’t get round to carving your spooky pumpkin, the possibilities are endless! Take a look through all our pumpkin recipes, from James Martin’s pumpkin casserole to pumpkin cupcakes.
Don’t forget, pumpkins are in season from October to December so there’s plenty of time to go back for more.