Food & Drink
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Unusual ways to use up your pumpkin

27 OCT 21 | 3 minute read

Once the guisers have haunted your door and you’re stuck trying to remove the last of the paint from your face (or your kids), there are still a few tricks for getting the last treats out of your Halloween pumpkin.

Of the 1.8 million pumpkins bought at Halloween, 1.1 million are chucked out afterwards but just as turkey sandwiches are a staple of post-Christmas mealtimes, it’s likely that your pumpkin still has a bit more life in it.

Wasting food also wastes all the resources and energy that went into producing, processing, transporting and cooking it. And then, if food is sent to landfill it produces climate-warming methane gas as it rots.

To combat what could be a terrifying amount of food waste, here are seven alternative uses for pumpkins...

Just as turkey sandwiches are a staple of post-Christmas mealtimes, it’s likely that your pumpkin still has a bit more life in it. #HowToWasteLess

Pumpkin pet treats

Instead of throwing your used pumpkin away, treat your four-legged friend to dog biscuits made from leftover pumpkin flesh this Halloween.

The White on Rice Couple’s recipe suggests pureeing the pumpkin and mixing it with eggs, oil, water and flax seeds, cutting the dough into dog-friendly shapes, then baking in the oven.

Photo of a jar of homemade pumpkin dog biscuits

Halloween I ‘scream’

Abertay University’s food innovation experts have used pumpkins to create a delicious and environmentally friendly ice cream. All the edible parts of the pumpkin are used, even the pumpkin seeds are roasted and used as a chopped nut substitute.

Their recipe is easy to make at home, just grab an ice cream maker (if you don’t have one try your local tool library as they often have small kitchen appliances available to borrow)and your leftover pumpkins for some delicious Halloween I ‘scream’.

Face mask

Your multi-vitamin pumpkin leftovers can be pureed to create a homemade face mask to revitalise your skin. If guisers come knocking mid-pamper session it also doubles up as an impromptu Halloween costume.

Find the full recipe here.

Photo of a pumpkin beside a jar of pumpkin puree face mask

Pumpkin Margaritas

Up your cocktail game with a pumpkin spice margarita that the whole party will enjoy – even after Halloween. There are loads of recipes online, including this one from Real House Moms.

Curries

Chop the pumpkin into chunks and add them to a curry for a hearty and easy-to-make dish. Get creative with the additions, from chicken to coconut. BBC Good Food has a pumpkin curry with chickpeas recipe

Bird feeders

Be pump-kind to nature by turning leftovers into a homemade bird feeder. While the flesh of the pumpkin is great for soups and curries, the skin shouldn’t be overlooked either. Simply cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out as much flesh as possible and loop a wire through to hang your pumpkin bird feeder from a tree branch. Fill the hollowed pit with seeds to attract a variety of garden birds. See Gardener’s World for the full guide.

Remember that pumpkins shouldn't be left on the ground as they are a danger to hedgehogs.

Hair conditioner

Give your hair a new lease of life with a homemade pumpkin hair conditioning treatment using your carving leftovers. The ScratchMommy blog says homemade pumpkin puree works wonders for dry hair. You’ll save a fortune on expensive hair products and cut down on your food waste at the same time. Find out more here.

So there you have it, seven ideas for making the most of your pumpkins while helping to save the planet. Which one will you try first?