The mighty pumpkin is the symbol of all things Halloween and fall, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a pumpkin spice latte when the temperature starts to drop? We definitely do! But the round orange fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) can offer us so much more than just a scary jack-o-lantern for Halloween.
In the UK alone, an estimated 10 million pumpkins are grown every year, 95% of which are used during the month of October. That’s a lot of pumpkins to pick! Sadly, around 8 million of this sweet squash get thrown away every year. We think the pumpkin deserves celebrating; there are so many health benefits our orange friend can offer, as they’re packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, and using the gooey bits means less waste in landfills. Sounds gourd, right? We’ve put together some tips and tricks for you to get the most out of your carving pumpkin this Halloween, so read on to find out more.
- Save the Seeds
The average pumpkin has around 500 seeds- that’s a lot of snacks for your lunchbox! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc, so can help maintain a healthy heart, support blood sugar balance and decrease the risks of chronic diseases. When carving out your pumpkin, separate the pulp from the seeds and give them a good rinse under running water. Boil the seeds in lightly salted water, dry, then roast on a baking tray with your favourite savory seasoning, such as spices and a drizzle of oil. Delish! There are tons of roasted pumpkin seed recipes online, so there’s no excuse not to enjoy this healthy snack.
- The Perfect Winter Soup
Everyone loves a bowl of homemade soup on a cozy winter’s day- there’s no feeling like it. The fleshy insides of a carving pumpkin are perfectly edible and can be soup-er tasty. Like all squash, pumpkin makes an excellent base for any vegetable soup or hearty broth. Before carving your pumpkin, scoop out the inner flesh, scraping as much from the inside as you can, and separate from the seeds. Not only does this make your pumpkin easier to carve into, you’ll have the base for a very tasty soup. With so many pumpkin soup recipes, like this one from Jamie Oliver, the flavour combos are endless. Enjoy the scents of your soup simmering away as you carve your pumpkin masterpiece…
- Purée the Pulp
Don’t ditch the guts! If you’re not into soup, use those stringy bits you pulled out of the pumpkin and turn them into a delicious puree. Blend in a food processor and season to taste, to be used in risottos, sweet pies, hummus, and so much more. For more leftover pumpkin recipes, check out BBC Good Food.
- Compost Your Scraps
If none of these ideas tickle your tastebuds, you can always put the pumpkin flesh to good use by adding it to your compost. Once your pumpkin is finished for the season, chop it up and add this to your compost heap as well. Pumpkins are made up of 92% water and are full of vitamins, which makes them super nourishing for soil.
Make the most of your Halloween pumpkin this season by utilizing all it has to offer, stringy guts and all! For more inspiration, check out Hubbub and their pumpkin rescue mission - an environmental charity who offer some creative tips to help you save your scraps from the graveyard.