According to research by environmental charity Hubbub, it’s predicted that over half of the pumpkins bought for the Halloween season will go to waste each year. That’s a staggering 15 million pumpkins – scary stuff right?
“Whilst pumpkins are a popular food in America, in the UK we generally carve then discard them,” explains Cllr Marisa Heath, Chair of the Surrey Environment Partnership. “Coming at a time when many households are feeling the squeeze from the rising costs of food and other utilities, throwing healthy food away seems, well pretty frightful.”
Apart from being iconic Halloween favourites, pumpkins are part of the squash family, just like the Butternut; a vegetable widely enjoyed here in the UK. High in fibre, vitamins and minerals, pumpkins are extremely versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet recipes. Think pumpkin soup or pie and don’t discard the seeds and skin, they can also be eaten. Yes that’s right, the only thing that should be thrown into your food waste caddy is the green stem.
So when you carve your ‘Jack-o’-lantern’, remember to scoop out all the lovely orange flesh (and seeds) and make something delicious to eat. There are plenty of recipes that use pumpkin, here’s one of our favourites by Chef Antony Worrall Thompson, on the BBC Good Food website.
For the pastry
Sweet shortcrust pastry case (or a packet of ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry with 40g/1½oz crushed pecans mixed in)
For the pumpkin pie filling
450g/1lb prepared weight pumpkin flesh, peeled and cut into 1in/2.5 cm chunks
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (use the white for another dish)
75g/3oz soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
275ml/10fl oz double cream
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. If using a shop bought sweet crust pastry case, use one that is 23cm/9in diameter and 4cm/1½in deep. If using your own pastry, roll it out and use it to line a 23cm/9in pie plate (not loose bottomed). Bake the pastry case blind for 20 minutes.
3. To make the filling, place the pumpkin chunks on a baking tray, cover with foil and roast until tender. This will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your pumpkin. Press the cooked pumpkin in a coarse sieve and to extract any excess water. Set aside to cool before blending in a food processor, or mashing by hand to a pureé.
4. Lightly whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.
5. Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan, bring to simmering point, giving it a whisk to mix everything together. Then pour it over the eggs and whisk it again briefly. Now add the pumpkin pureé, still whisking to combine everything thoroughly.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes, by which time it will puff up round the edges but still feel slightly wobbly in the centre.
7. Remove the pie from the oven and place the tin on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or chilled (stored loosely covered in foil in the fridge) with some chilled créme fraïche or whipped cream.
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Find out more ways to Own Your Impact (OYI) and reduce your food waste here.