If there is one vegetable that is synonymous with Halloween, it’s the pumpkin. But pumpkins are so much more than a jack-o’-lantern, and can be used in many different ways throughout the season.
According to the charity Hubbub, more than half of the pumpkins estimated to be bought this Halloween – a whopping 22.2 million – are expected to go to waste in the UK. Why? Because after carving, some people just throw away the flesh, rather than eating it. That’s a terrifying £32.6 million worth of edible food. It’s also thought that nearly 1 in 5 people don’t know how to cook a pumpkin, with many not realising that carving pumpkins from the supermarket are totally edible – and with a little effort can be super tasty, too!
One way you can make the most of your jack-o’-lantern this year is to decorate it, rather than carve it. Not only is it less messy and smaller hands can get involved without the fear of hurting themselves, the pumpkin lasts longer – then when the festivities are over, you can simply cut into the flesh.
So we’ve put together some excellent no-carve pumpkin ideas and tasty recipes to help you reduce food waste and make the most of this incredibly versatile veg. From a beautiful autumnal tablescape to a warming and comforting soup, we’ve got all the inspiration you need.
NO-CARVE DECORATING IDEAS
There are plenty of fun and easy ways you can decorate your pumpkin that don’t require a knife. Carving a pumpkin can be time-consuming and messy – and doing so exposes it to air, which speeds up decomposition. Get creative and keep your pumpkin fresher for longer by opting for a no-carve decoration – perfect for kids! All you need is a pumpkin, your favourite craft supplies and a little inspiration to get you started.
- Use whatever craft materials you have to create scary, funny or cute faces on your pumpkin for Halloween. You can use paint, stencils, stickers, Sharpies, googly eyes, biodegradable glitter, tissue paper, newspapers – there are tonnes of possibilities! You could also turn your pumpkins into a family of owls: simply stick on felt stickers for eyes, a felt triangle for a beak and yellow pipe cleaners underneath for claws – so cute and so easy!
- Transform your pumpkins into seasonal decorations that can be used beyond Halloween. Have a go at painting them in beautiful autumnal colours or add delicate autumnal flowers and dried petals over the top to create an elegant tablescape.
RECIPES TO USE UP PUMPKINS
If you are planning to carve or decorate your pumpkins, don’t chuck away the beautiful flesh! Pumpkins work really well in a range of sweet and savoury dishes, and are a great source of vitamin C, which our bodies need for immune, teeth and gum health among other things. Read on for our delicious pumpkin recipes…
This creamy pumpkin dip is perfect for Halloween parties and a great way to use up the insides from carving your jack o’lanterns. Why not make a batch of these spooky snake straws for dipping, too!
The large carving pumpkins sold in supermarkets can sometimes be a little fibrous and watery, but once roasted, the flesh becomes soft, sweet and rich. Pair with aromatic coriander seeds and a kick of dried chilli then blitz into a nourishing and comforting pumpkin soup.
This homemade pickle recipe takes a bit of time, but the results are totally worth it. Use in cheese sandwiches, on a ploughman’s or as a condiment with your favourite curry. You could even give it away as an edible Christmas gift.
For a satisfying tea-time treat, you can’t go wrong with this chocolate pumpkin loaf recipe. The puréed pumpkin makes it super-moist and the warming spices give it a cosy autumnal feel. So good!
With crumbly vanilla pastry and a sticky-sweet pecan crumble topping, Jamie’s twist on this American classic is one to try this Thanksgiving. You could make the pumpkin purée ahead of time and freeze until you’re ready to bake.
Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds – transform them into the most delicious, nutritious snack to enjoy any time of the year. This version is spiked with chilli flakes and fennel seeds, but you can mix it up with any flavours you like. Enjoy them on their own or scatter over salads and soups for extra crunch.
Hubbub is an award-winning charity and social enterprise that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment. Hubbub’s #EatYourPumpkin campaign aims to reduce food waste by making pumpkin eating as big as pumpkin carving. Check out their website for alternative pumpkin decorations, and tips on how to save food from going to waste.