Going on a field trip to a pumpkin patch, carving jack-o-lanterns, and roasting pumpkin seeds, it’s all part of the Halloween tradition. But what happens when Halloween has come and gone? Like all holidays and traditions, the decorations are put away and used again. But it’s often not the case when it comes to carved Halloween pumpkins; they’re simply tossed away as waste.
You know we’re always looking for ways to reduce food waste for both food recipes and lifestyle purposes. So this year, instead of discarding the seeds, the carvings, and even the jack-o-lanterns, put some real purpose into your Halloween pumpkins!
While many suggestions are food related—because who can resist pumpkin dishes—it’s important to note that jack-o-lanterns that have been left out for more than a day are possibly unsafe for consumption. There are still uses for them though! And those guts and seeds definitely come in handy in certain recipes.
Reduce Halloween pumpkin waste with these tips!
1. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This is probably the most common one, and arguably the most delicious! Season your pumpkin seeds with cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg for delicious fall flavours. Toss them in oil with a pinch of salt. Roast your pumpkin seeds in a preheated oven at 300°F for 30 minutes or until browned. Pumpkin seeds are full of protein and fibre, making them a great snack food.
2. Pumpkin Gut Broth
You know that stringy, slimy stuff that you dig out of a pumpkin? Save it. Put all of it in a pot of water with any other vegetable leftovers, like carrot tops, potato peels, etc. Boil it as you would to make a broth. Strain it before adding your favourite spices to make a delicious and flavourful soup.
3. Pumpkin Planter
I mean you already did all the work by emptying a whole pumpkin, so why not put it to good use? Especially if you’ve just bought a new plant and need to get it going before you settle it into your yard, an empty pumpkin will supply it with nutrients and a home for a few weeks. Then simply plant it directly into your garden; the pumpkin will decompose itself.
4. Treat the Wildlife
Maybe you live in a rural area where wildlife often take casual strolls in your backyard. In which case, quarter up your whole empty pumpkin and toss it where they roam. Bambi and Thumper will eat that right up. And throw the pumpkin seeds in your bird feeder.
5. Pureed Pumpkin
Didn’t have time to carve out that pumpkin? Or maybe your carved pumpkin was only left out for a short period that night? It’s probably for the best. Turn all that pumpkin into puree! Cut your pumpkin in halves, with seeds and gut emptied, then place them with the skin-side up in a baking dish with some water and bake until the flesh is soft and tender. Pumpkin puree is super versatile and works in just about any baked goods. Check out some of SPUD’s pumpkin recipes for inspiration!
Whatever you decide to do with your Halloween pumpkins, remember to reduce waste. And at the very least, compost it. What are some of your favourite ways to use pumpkin leftovers?