Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Halloween Pumpkins: The Day After?

It’s Halloween and everywhere you look you see pumpkins and pumpkin images.  Globally millions and millions of pumpkins have been carved as decorations over the last couple of days. I started to wonder what happens to them tomorrow. Disturbingly, I am discovering that most of them end up in the bin. Oh no, what a waste! 

I also just discovered that over 95% of pumpkins grown are not eaten. I'm so shocked. I love pumpkin (to eat!). Did you know all parts of the plant are edible - the leaves, the shoots, the flowers, the fruit, the skin and the seed. I so look forward to the time when my self-seeding pumpkins are ready to harvest - they are just taking off now. (See my previous post: 7 ways to Use All of Your Pumpkin Plant).




I’d always held this lovely notion in my mind that the Halloween pumpkin flesh is scooped out to make pie - making multiple use of it, but sadly these pumpkins aren’t grown for eating. Their flesh is stringy and watery.  I’ve seen lots of recipes for using it, but I wonder really how many are actually used.


What do you do with your Halloween pumpkins? 
  • compost them?
  • feed them to worms?
  • toast up a spicy seed mix?
  • bake pumpkin chips from the skin?
  • blend the flesh with other vegetables to make a curry, soup or stew?
  • make pumpkin bread or muffins?
  • ...?

Does anyone have smashing pumpkin contests followed by a community composting?  

Let’s share the creative ways we can make the most of this abundant crop - before and after it’s been carved.

Perhaps we could focus too on less mass production of pumpkins and try growing them in our own neighbourhoods.



I understand the origins of the celebration and the fun the kids have with this special day in many parts of the world - but this kind of waste does concern me. We’re talking (conservatively) well over half a billion kilograms of pumpkin globally. In landfill these pumpkins don’t decompose, they end up leaching and creating methane thereby contributing to climate change. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Halloween (just the waste - pumpkin and plastic). I did actually support my kids and their friends to organise a Halloween event here in our ecovillage. I was impressed at how very creative they were in up-cycling materials to create interesting decorations, games and activities.  It was a hugely fun night where people from around the community got together, dressed up, shared a pot-luck meal, organised kid-friendly games, and walked around together meeting up with neighbours and friends having an absolute ball.  There were some lollies, but also lots of lovely homemade treats - thanks everyone!  And ... only one person brought along a pumpkin (an edible one).



3 comments:

  1. The thought of wasting food is shocking - specially where there's abundance...while some part of the world is starving:( We love pumpkin from autumn till winter- they're delicious and it stores for a long period of time,but haven't tried pumpkin chips...?

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  2. While everyone seems to focus on using pumpkins for their Jack Lanterns, my very ingenious cousin, who happens to be one of the major growers in Queensland, used pineapples. They looked awesome. And they definetely didn't wast any of the pineapple.

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  3. Pumpkin jam. Awesome and perfect for these watery Halloween pumpkins.

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