Here's what to do with the food waste from your pumpkin

Caroline AllenContributor
Pumpkin waste in the UK is set to reach a record high this year. [Photo: Getty]
Pumpkin waste in the UK is set to reach a record high this year. [Photo: Getty]

The UK is expected to create record numbers of food waste over Halloween this year.

More than 8 million pumpkins will end up in the bin because the majority of us don’t know what to do with the edible insides.

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Research by stock cube brand Knorr and environmental charity Hubbub found that 60% of pumpkin buyers don’t use the flesh.

You don’t have to waste the inners of your pumpkin, though. There are plenty of sustainable ways to enjoy pumpkin carving without throwing the remnants into the bin.

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Pumpkin recipes

There are plenty of pumpkin recipes on offer to keep you from wasting the - really quite delicious - flesh. From pumpkin pies to pumpkin soup, there are hundreds of recipes available online.

One of our favourite recipes is Tesco’s pumpkin gnocchi. With a simple list of ingredients and the chance to make homemade gnocchi (what’s not to love?) this recipe is just what we need on a warm autumn night.

There are hundreds of pumpkin recipes available, this pumpkin gnocchi being our favourite. [Photo: Tesco]
There are hundreds of pumpkin recipes available, this pumpkin gnocchi being our favourite. [Photo: Tesco]

We all love Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes. As it turns out, they’re really not that difficult to make.

You’ll need:

2 cups of milk (dairy and non-dairy work just fine)

2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice (nutmeg also works quite nicely)

1/2 cup of strong black coffee

Whipped cream (if you want)

Just add the milk, pumpkin puree and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Don’t let it boil, whisk in the vanilla extract, spices and coffee just before it gets to that point. Pour it into a cup and add whipped cream and a sprinkle of spice on top.

This recipe makes two but you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe if you want to make it for the whole family.

Make a bird feed or a planter

Just like us, birds and wildlife really benefit from fruit and vegetables. As well as giving the birds something to nibble on, pumpkin carcasses make great flower pots.

A top tip is to line the pumpkin with newspaper and then tightly fill it with soil before planting your flowers.

You can leave the pumpkin out on display for a few weeks and then bury it in the ground after it discolours. The pumpkin will naturally decompose underground.

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Make a healthy dinner for your dog or cat

If you don’t like the taste of pumpkin, it doesn’t mean your dogs won’t. Pumpkin seeds are a nutrient-rich treat for dogs and help play a role in their overall health, according to Purina.

Cats also love warmed (until it’s almost a puree) pumpkin. According to Cat’s Health, it has loads of health benefits similar to the ones it has for dogs.

If you’re not sure how your cat or dog would get on with pumpkin, just ask your vet for advice.

Always compost

If you can’t use your pumpkins for anything else, make sure that they are composted. Pumpkins break down within two weeks and are filled with plenty of nutrients. Your garden will thank you later.

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