SOME 8 million pumpkins are binned after Halloween in the UK – the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the entire nation.
Just over half of people who buy pumpkins to carve for Halloween bin the flesh, with half of those sending them to landfill.
Recycling experts in Warwickshire have provided some tips to ensure your Halloween is glowing green this year.
- Don’t carve a pumpkin at all, if you aren’t planning to eat it.
- Buy a vegetable you are more likely to eat. Turnips are the traditional vegetable for carving at Halloween in the UK, but are quite difficult to carve.
Why not try a butternut squash which is just as nutritious, doesn’t require as much water as a pumpkin when grown and is cheaper to buy?
- If you buy a pumpkin, eat the flesh. Hollow out the pumpkin as much as possible to create a thin shell – this will help the pumpkin glow more brightly and you will have more flesh to eat.
Don’t forget to eat the seeds too!
- Use your pumpkin a food caddy. Once the pumpkin has done its job and scared away any bad spirits, use it as a temporary caddy to collect food scraps ready for composting.
- If you don’t have a compost bin, you can still return your pumpkin to the earth by smashing it with a spade and burying it in a shady spot.
- Alternatively, use the food waste collection if available. Simply place it in the green wheeled bin ready to be composted.
- Don’t buy a plastic pumpkin. Plastic pumpkins don’t biodegrade or compost down and are a waste of precious resources.
- Think local – there are pumpkin farms and farm shops across Warwickshire that are more likely to offer different varieties of pumpkins that are better for eating. Next year, you could try growing your own – it is very satisfying watching them grow around 30cm each day and you get to choose the variety that is best for eating.
Pumpkins are a nutritious source of potassium and beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A – good for your immune system and vision. It also contains some minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins E, C and some B vitamins.
And while the seeds may be small, they are mighty in the nutrients department. Just like nuts, pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3.
They also contain a good range of nutrients including iron, selenium, calcium, B vitamins and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, zinc and magnesium.
Seeds can be soaked in salt water to remove the skins and then roasted in the oven for a healthy snack.
There are plenty of recipes available from soups and risottos to pies and muffins so there’s no excuse!
Visit www.hubbub.org.uk/eat-your-pumpkin for recipe ideas and information.