Here at AARVEN, we love all things Autumn! From the changing leaves to the crisp chill in the air, there is something magical about the season. One not-so-magical fact, however, is the sheer volume of wasted pumpkins post Halloween. More than half of the 24 million pumpkins carved for Halloween in Britain this year will not be eaten. In fact, one in seven people who celebrate Halloween do not even think of pumpkins as food. The poll of 3,000 adults in the UK carried out by the food charity Hubbub shows that of the 24 million pumpkins bought, 12.76 million will be carved but the pumpkin will not be eaten. This will only add to the UK's huge mountain of avoidable food waste which is already at a staggering 6.6 million tonnes every year. The research also suggests that 2 million discarded pumpkins will end up in the general household bin when they could be put in the food waste bin, composted or put out for the birds and wildlife.
That is why this year we want to encourage everyone that has carved a pumpkin not to waste it, try out some of these fantastic, sustainable ways to use your pumpkin instead...
For Food & Drink
Every part of the pumpkin is edible, other than the stalk. Pumpkins are not only tasty but also super nutritious and are a great source of vitamins A and C, iron, and riboflavin. We suggest trying to buy locally grown, organic pumpkins as this cuts down on the emission that come from importing food. The flesh of a pumpkin is definitely the most versatile, you can make pumpkin pie, muffins, soup, risotto - the list is endless! BBC Good Food has some fantastic pumpkin recipes here or try our pumpkin gnocchi recipe from a few years ago. You can even add the pumpkin to your favourite smoothie recipe for an extra burst of nutrition.
Don't throw away the insides of your pumpkin! You can toast the seeds and keep them in an air-tight glass jar as a tasty snack. Pumpkin seeds, known in many other countries as pepitas, are delicious and super nutritious.
You can even use the skin of the pumpkin to make pumpkin crisps! Simply cut or tear into pieces, toss in olive oil and salt and then roast in the oven for around 20 minutes.
It's not just humans that love pumpkins - our furry & feathered friends can enjoy them too! Pumpkin is a nutritious treat for wildlife including badgers, foxes, and squirrels. Just make sure to inspect your pumpkin before sharing it with the critters in your garden. Pigs and chickens also love pumpkins, and many animal sanctuaries will gladly accept donations of them.
You can also feed pumpkins to insects and worms by burying chunks of pumpkin approximately 25cm deep into your flower beds. This will not only please the creepy crawlies, but will also add nutrients into your soil.
And as for the birds, you can clean and dry the pumpkin seeds, roast them for around 10 minutes and allow them to cool completely before adding them to your bird feeders. Don't forget to break some up for the smaller birds!
Pumpkin has many benefits for your skin and can be a great ingredient to incorporate into your DIY beauty routine. Pumpkin is high in zinc which is an effective anti-inflammatory and can soothe redness and acne. It also contains vitamins A and C which are fantastic for brightening your complexion.
You can make a brilliant pumpkin sugar scrub to exfoliate your skin. Simply mix together equal parts pumpkin puree and olive oil with enough brown sugar to give it the amount of exfoliation you want. Rub on to your skin while in the bath or shower and then rinse off.
We hope you found these tips helpful! Let us know if you have any other top tips on sustainable ways to use up your pumpkin...