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Each year Millions of people all over the globe celebrate Halloween. Halloween has many traditions, one very popular one being pumpkin carving. But are the pumpkins edible once you have finished using them as decorations? What do you do with them, or do you just throw them in the bin?
Pumpkin carving is said to date back to the 18th century meaning people have been carving pumpkins for hundreds of years. But how can we change, to make such a popular tradition more sustainable to suit our modern world where saving the environment has become a growing priority?
There are many different ways we can make this tradition a more sustainable one, and we can tell you how!
In the US alone $10 billion was spent on candy, decorations and costumes all to celebrate the festive holiday. Many of these costumes and decorations will be used for years to come however, pumpkins must be disposed of each year after use. A major issue with this is many of these pumpkins carved and used for one night a year end up in landfill. Pumpkins in landfills release methane gas which is a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
To avoid sending your used pumpkins to landfills we have some other ways that you can dispose of or find use for your pumpkins once Halloween has come to an end for another year.
Put them in your compost bin
Pumpkins are perfect to put into a compost pile! The organic material from the pumpkin brings great benefits to your garden and prevents the pumpkin from ending up in landfill. Smashing or cutting up your pumpkin before putting it into the compost pile will speed up the process. They will also provide nitrogen for your compost bin.
Before adding your pumpkin to the compost heap, remember to remove any candles, wax and decorations such as paint or glitter. To prevent more pumpkin plants from growing, make sure to remove all of the seeds.
Use them to grow pumpkins for next year, for free decorations and edible goodies
Pumpkins can self-sew their seeds! This means you could grow yourself you’re your own free pumpkins for next year.
You can repeat the process for years to come which is much better for the environment compared to buying new ones each year that have been mass produced for the shops.
Eat your pumpkins, they are still edible!
Many pumpkins that are sold in shops for carving are bred for decoration not for flavor. This doesn’t mean they can’t still be eaten but you might not want to especially if it has already been carved a few days prior as it could be contaminated! But not to worry, the flesh of the pumpkin is still perfect for feeding animals such as goats, sheep horses, pigs and chickens.
However, the seeds are still fine to use and are perfect for roasting! They are great eaten on their own as a snack or for use in cakes and other baked goods.
Here are some pumpkin seed recipes that you might find helpful!
Roasted pumpkin seeds-
Ingredients: fresh pumpkin seeds, 2 tsp olive oil
- Pre heat oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ gas 6
- Wash the seeds thoroughly and remove any bits of pumpkin flesh – dry well using kitchen paper
- Put seeds on a baking tray and toss with olive oil
- Roast for 10 mins
You can choose to serve with a little seasoning to make a tasty snack!
You can also use them as a garnish for salads or soups!
Pumpkin seed cookies-
Prep:20 mins Cook:12 mins Level: Easy Makes 10
Ingredients: 120g softened butter, 75g light brown sugar, 75g golden caster sugar, 1 medium egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 130g plain flour, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 50g toasted pumpkin seeds, 150g dark chocolate (cut into chunks) pinch of flaky sea salt
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with parchment
- Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy
- Beat in the egg and vanilla
- Once combined, stir in the flower, cocoa powder, bicarb, chocolate, pumpkin seeds and ¼ tsp salt.
- Next, scoop 10 large tbsps. of the mixture onto the trays, leaving enough space between each to allow for spreading
- Add a pinch of flakey sea salt before baking
- Bake for 10-12 mins or until firm at the edges and soft in the middle
- Leave to cool for a few minutes before eating
(these will keep for 3 days in an airtight container)
Rye & pumpkin seed crackers-
Prep:20 mins Cook: 12-15 mins level: Easy Makes:24
Ingredients: 200g rye flour, 200g whole meal flour, 100g pumpkin seed, ½ tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp golden caster sugar, 1 large egg
- Pre-heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1
- Line two baking trays with parchment
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowel
- Beat the egg with 250ml water in a jug then pour into the dry mixture
- Combine with a wooden spoon then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until you have a smooth, firm dough
- Next, roll the dough out as thinly as possible and cute into squares, about 7cm
- Transfer squares to your baking tray
- Bake for 12-15 mins then remove trays from oven
- Flip each cracker over on the tray and return to the oven, swapping over the shelves for a further 12-15 mins
- Once cooked remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool
(store in sealed container for up to 2 weeks)
For more pumpkin seed recipes check out: Pumpkin seed recipes | BBC Good Food
If you enjoyed this blog, why not check out our others for all things sustainable! Blog – Calluna Upcycling – Ecofriendly Gifts (calluna-upcycling.co.uk)