5 Ways to Minimize Waste While Carving Pumpkins
Billions of pounds of pumpkin waste end up in landfills each year. Luckily, there are countless ways to reduce your pumpkin waste that are both fun and sustainable.
Welcome to spooky season! Filled with ghosts and spine-chilling (and very fun) traditions, Halloween is among our most treasured times of year, and what better way to welcome this year's haunting souls than with your favorite Halloween ritual—pumpkin carving?
Jack-o-Lanterns are Halloween's signature doorstep adornment. And although nothing says fall like the hand-carved smile on a plump little pumpkin, the practice is a touch unsustainable. With nearly 1 billion pounds of pumpkin corpses sent to landfill each year, those ghoulish gourd faces come with some serious emissions.
Luckily, there are countless ways to reduce your pumpkin waste that are both fun and sustainable. From fall-centric pumpkin recipes to compost and animal feed, Halloween is the perfect time to foster your creativity while practicing sustainable holiday habits.
Read on for five appealing ways to ensure that your pumpkin-carving party is an eco-friendly one.
5 Ways to Reduce Waste When Carving Pumpkins
First things first: buying local and organic pumpkins is the best place to start. Also, be sure to save every piece of it as you carve, ensuring a low-waste practice that's both eco-friendly and potentially tasty! Trust us.
1. Toast the Seeds
Separating pumpkin seeds from pumpkin flesh is the best place to start, and roasting your pumpkin seeds is one of the easiest ways to reduce your waste.
To prep your seeds, start with a rinse and dry. Place your clean seeds on a baking tray and dress with your favorite oils and spices. (Nutmeg and cinnamon are great if you're looking for a sweet snack, but you can also sprinkle with sea salt for a delicious, classic flavor.) Toast your seeds in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees. Let them cool, and enjoy!
2. Save the Scraps for Future Meals
Once you've undergone the artistry of carving, what you have left is scraps. Full of sweet autumnal flavor, the meaty body of the pumpkin is too often forgotten and rarely enjoyed. To avoid this, set it aside for cooking!
Vegetable stock, pumpkin pureé, roasted pumpkin, and pumpkin soup are just some of the delicious fall delectables you can make from said scraps. Choosing to make pureé with your scraps opens a world of opportunity, as you can refrigerate and use it as a base for seasonal pie and bread. And when roasted, pumpkin scraps can also serve as a healthy replacement for potatoes.
3. Make Pumpkin Hummus
One of the most creative ways to cook with pumpkin flesh is by turning it into hummus. You can either use your aforementioned homemade pureé as the base or roast the pumpkin flesh as is.
Once roasted, you simply add your pumpkin into a food processor with chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spices, and you'll have yourself a batch of homemade pumpkin hummus.
4. Compost Leftover Pieces
If you're not much of a chef, don't worry—your pumpkin can always be composted! Composting your leftover pumpkin is a great way to reduce your waste during Halloween.
The entire pumpkin, including the flesh and the seeds, is compostable, so you won't have to worry about any leftover waste. Plus, after a few weeks on the doorstep, your pumpkin probably isn't all that appealing. Composting is often your best option.
Note: Remember to remove any candles and artificial materials before composting.
5. Donate for Animal Feed
Many local farms or shelters will gladly take your pumpkins as animal feed—goats and pigs love our Halloween tradition almost as much as we do! Both healthy and fattening, pumpkins are a great source of calories and nutrients for livestock.
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