October is such a wonderful time of the year! There is the change in the seasons, days becoming cooler and nights longer, with the landscape turning incredible shades of yellow, orange and reds. It’s also a time where things get a little spooky, with Halloween on the horizon. Pumpkins are an absolute must this month. Whether you carve them for Halloween, or use them whole for Autumnal decoration, it is often a non-negotiable for many at this time of year!
However, the majority of pumpkins grown at this time of year get thrown away. Often they will end up in landfills, and as they decompose without oxygen they emit methane. This is a greenhouse gas with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide. Those are some scary facts! So what can be done to reduce wastage and the negative effect on our planet?
1. Roast your pumpkin seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds are an amazing snack or can be used on top of porridge, in granola, in baked goods, and more! Simply wash and dry your seeds and roast them in the oven with your seasonings of choice.
2. Turn the insides into pumpkin purée
This is a fantastic one to do after you have carved a pumpkin. Take the pumpkin’s insides, making sure to remove the seeds, and bake until cooked. Simply blend to be able to use in loads of recipes – cakes, pies, biscuits, even dog treats.
3. Compost what you don’t eat
A lot of pumpkins are actually grown simply for carving, and are not particularly nice to eat. One of the best things to do with your pumpkin if you cannot eat it is compost it. By composting your pumpkin, it is given the right conditions to break down so that it does not release harmful gases into the air. Either compost at home or see if there is a collection in your area.
4. Feed your leftover pumpkin to the wildlife
Squirrels, foxes, birds, rabbits and other wildlife all love pumpkin! Make sure to remove any candle wax, paint or any other harmful elements from your pumpkin. As long as the pumpkin isn’t mushy, mouldy or burned, it will be fine for our animal friends (if not, best destined for the compost!). Chop it up into small pieces and leave outside for the wildlife to enjoy – they will love you for it!
If you are like us and prefer to use pumpkins whole as decoration, rather than carved, then your pumpkins can last for months! Store at room temperature in a place without direct sunlight. Then you will have plenty of time to get through all those tasty pumpkins!