19. Oct, 2017

Halloween: The Festival of Food Waste


It is estimated that in the UK  up to four million pumpkins are brought to  carve and display over  Halloween with the  edible flesh of these pumpkins being discarded as waste and ending up with  most of the lanterns in landfill. This produces  an additional  18,000 tons of landfill waste directly attributable to  the Halloween festivities. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 1.91 billion pounds of pumpkins where grown in the U.S. in 2014 most of which, as in the UK, where used for carving and then thrown away ,

 Much of this waste is due to people being unaware of the versatility of pumpkin flesh as a food or not realising that the fresh discarded when carving the pumpkin can be eaten. On this basis, farmers are growing acres of food just for it to be thrown away

While the most common variety for pumpkin grown for Halloween carving in the USA  (the Howden) may not provide as much flavour as varieties grown specifically for eating but still make tasty soups and pies. There are a large number of very tasty squashes and pumpkins suitable for home and allotment growing that can be used to carve different shaped lanterns these  all have flesh high in fibre and beta-carotene that should not be wasted.

To help reduce this waste and  save money Love Food Hate Waste (http://ni.lovefoodhatewaste.com/node/4172)  publishes  a range of pumpkin recipes sThe fresh  of giant pumpkins grown for Biggest Pumpkin Competitions is  also edible but tends to be  coarser and have less flavour than pumpkins grown specifically to eat but they can still be in pies, soups, and used in recipes as an alternative for squash.

Details of how to compost pumpkins can be found at carryoncomposting.com