Making the Most of Your Pumpkin:
More than just a ghoulish accessory, we have some ideas for your Halloween pumpkin to reduce food waste, support local farms and use your pumpkin from seed to stalk.
The practice of carving pumpkins into spooky Jack O'Lanterns has become an integral part of the Halloween celebration, leading trick or treater’s by flickering candlelight to doorsteps across the UK.
This age-old ritual, rooted in history and folklore, has evolved over the years, from candles placed in hollowed out turnips and mangelwurzels to the import of pumpkins from the US in the 20th century.
More pumpkins are sold in October than at any other time, with more than 30 million pumpkins expected to be bought in the UK this year. Sadly, considering their delicious and nutritious qualities, at least half of those will be destined for the waste bin at the start of November.
Discover how you can make the most of this year’s pumpkin harvest to create your most sustainable Halloween yet.
A Local Crop
Most Halloween pumpkins sold in supermarkets for carving are chosen for their uniform size and colour rather than their taste, so it is no wonder that attempts to cook them can be underwhelming.
Locally grown pumpkins from smaller farms are likely to have less fibrous flesh and be much tastier when cooked, as well as having a lower carbon footprint when transported to stores.
Some varieties to look out for that have a traditional orange colour and classic round shape are; Pumpkin Becky and Pumpkin Jack O’Lantern, although you can get creative with all varieties of squash for a colourful, autumnal display.
Pumpkins at our Eversfield Organic Farm Shop in Tavistock
A Delicious Dinner
These vibrant gourds are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C making them a wonderful addition to your autumn recipes. They can be turned into a wide array of delectable dishes, from creamy soups and hearty stews to amazing cakes and puddings, which are perfect for getting children to eat their five-a-day.
A Superfood Snack
Your Halloween pumpkin is likely to hold approximately 500 seeds. These seeds are not just delicious, but they could also provide a variety of health advantages, including maintaining heart health and lowering the risks of certain cancers.
Start by carefully removing the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin flesh by hand. Then, rinse them in a colander to remove any remaining pieces of pulp. They are now ready to boil and roast before adding your favourite seasoning and eating.
Some perfect pumpkin seed pairings to try are: spicy chilli flakes and sea salt, warming smoked paprika and thyme, and sweet cinnamon and brown sugar.
Pumpkin seeds make a great garnish for a pumpkin soup
A Halloween Harvest
Pumpkins are easy to grow even for beginners and are a great way to introduce children to growing veg. If planted in Spring, you should have your own crop ready for harvesting next Halloween, what could be a more sustainable pumpkin than that?
Prepare your seeds by washing them carefully as above. Once clean, pat dry with a paper towel and lay the seeds on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Put in a cool dry spot in your home to fully dry.
Drying will take a few weeks, so keep a regular eye on your seeds and throw away any that develop mould. Once ready, place the seeds in a paper envelope and store in a cool, dry drawer.
Pumpkins enjoy the sun, so don’t plant your pumpkin seeds outside until the weather starts to warm up in late Spring, although you can start your plants inside on a sunny windowsill.
Discover expert tips for growing the perfect pumpkin patch with the Royal Horticultural Society.
Pumpkins are easy to grow and are fun for kids
From Seed to Stalk
Your Halloween pumpkin by now has now been made into a scary Jack O’Lantern, a delicious dinner, a healthy snack and next year’s crop, but there is one last purpose for your pumpkin leftovers.
Cut your pumpkin waste into smaller chunks and add to your home composter to make the perfect fertiliser for your new pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are rich in nitrogen and break down quickly to add lots of nutrients to your soil.