Planet Friendly Pumpkins
There’s something scary about seasonal squash… and it’s not just the spooky faces carved into them…
In the UK alone, almost 40 million pumpkins are grown per year. As the pumpkin has become such a huge symbol of Halloween celebrations, unfortunately that means the majority of those grown are used only for decoration, not eaten, and therefore produce a whopping £32 million worth of wasted food every single year. So how can we help reduce waste, use more of our pumpkins and enjoy everything they have to offer?
Here’s some tips for a zero-waste Halloween this year…
Eat the seeds
Pumpkin seeds may be small, but they’re packed full of valuable nutrients. Eating only a small amount of them can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. Because of this, pumpkin seeds have been associated with several physical benefits – including improving heart health. Here’s a few ways to enjoy them:
- Toss your seeds on a baking tray, sprinkle oil, salt and bake for an alternative to popcorn
- Dry your seeds out and keep them in a jar to add to granola for breakfast
- Add your seeds to warm seasonal salads – you can use the flesh of the pumpkin for this too, see below
- Pop your seeds in an air-fryer or in a hot dry pan with oil, paprika, garlic and pepper for a spicy snack
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin hummus, stuffed pumpkin, roast pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin spiced latte…
The possibilities are simply endless and delicious to match. Check out a ton of healthy, hearty recipes for the season here on BBC Good Food and Taste.com
[Remember: Pumpkin flesh can be frozen to use in your recipe at a later date if you have lots left over]
Feed the birds
If you are not a fan yourself of eating pumpkin, your local wildlife are!
Both raw pumpkin and raw pumpkin seeds are excellent food sources for wild birds and your local ducks. Besides offering nutrients, pumpkin seeds are quite beneficial to birds as they have natural anti-parasitic effects on the digestive systems of poultry. Take your seeds to your local pond or offer them in a feeder – it’ll surely be appreciated during the colder months.
It’s not only birds who benefit from this natural food source once Halloween is over. Give back to other critters such as insects, foxes, squirrels and mice by taking your pumpkin shell to your nearest woodland (it could be in your local park) and smashing your pumpkin for our furry friends to enjoy! The pumpkin will also then degrade into the earth providing nutrients for the soil.
*Note: Check your pumpkin for paint, candle was or anything unnatural. Only give raw pumpkin to any wildlife.
Compost your pumpkin
Autumn is a wonderful time of year for gardeners and composters. As the leaf mulch begins to rot into the earth, providing wonderful nutrients to the roots of trees, a natural compost is beginning all around us. Every single part of the pumpkin can be composted and it is a great addition to any developing fertiliser.
Did you know…
Pumpkins that end up in landfill (when you throw it in the bin) contribute to harmful methane emissions, whereas if composted methane emissions are far less, meaning the carbon footprint and impact on climate change is reduced.
We’re excited to see your pumpkin creations, tag us on Instagram @rewildyourself to show us what you made.
Happy Halloween, ReWilders!