Did you know that around 12 million of the pumpkins we carve for Halloween in Britain don’t actually get eaten? That’s a MASSIVE amount of food waste.
Here are three ways to make the most of your Jack-o’-lantern…
For an easy, tasty snack you can roast the seeds, adding whatever flavours you fancy.
Stage One: Separate your seeds!
The RSPB’s Catering Development Manager Chris Kent and his son Miles show how to get the seeds from your pumpkin.
Stage Two: Roast your seeds!
Once you’ve got your seeds separated, dry them as much as you can with tea towels or kitchen paper.
Then use olive or rapeseed oil and a non-stick pan to sauté the seeds with your favourite flavours! For example…
- Dried ground chilli flakes
- Sea salt
- Pinch of sugar to help caramelisation
- Garlic salt
- Fennel seeds
Sauté for a few minutes transfer to a baking tray in a hot oven and bake for around 30 minutes. Give them a stir around every 10 minutes or so: the idea is to dry them out as much as possible. They can be roasted until quite dark as this keeps them nice and crispy.
Allow the seeds to cool before eating, as they won’t have the crunch straight out of the oven. Once cooled they can be kept in the cupboard in an airtight container. Great as a nibble with drinks!
Chris and Miles with their carved pumpkins and roasted seeds
Image by Nathalie Jolie / Unsplash
You can usually remove quite a bit of pumpkin flesh without getting too close to the skin – obviously you’ll need to leave a little so it holds its shape for Halloween!
Once you’ve scooped out as much as you can, make sure it’s in small chunks before laying it out on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and roast for 30 minutes.
Chop an onion and fry in a deep pan until soft, then pop in your roasted pumpkin and enough vegetable stock to make the amount of soup you want. Heat everything together for a few minutes before blitzing in a blender to make your soup.
For extra flavour you can add in things like chopped or grated ginger, garlic or chilli for example. I usually add those towards the end of the onion-cooking stage.
Finally, here's a little exclusive (or sneak peak) from one of the latest youth publications, Wild Explorers (for 8-12 year olds)...
Image by Jenny Sanderson
You'll need: a pumpkin, paper, scissors, felt tip pens, glue or tape, a sharp knife, a bowl and a spoon
1 Plan your design and sketch it out on paper. When you’re happy, draw and cut out the doors, windows and any other elements to fit your pumpkin.
2 Choose the smoothest side of your pumpkin to carve. Stick on your designs where you want them to go. Play around with the design until you are happy.
3 Use a felt tip pen or a pencil to draw around your paper cutouts.
4 Leave the top on the pumpkin for now. It is safer to carve this way and scoop out the inside once you have finished. Use a small, sharp knife to follow your outline on the pumpkin. Ask an adult to help. Wipe off any remaining pen.
5 Use a pen to draw a guideline around the top of the pumpkin. Cut open the top.
6 Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Separate out the seeds (see the recipe above!)
7 Now you can add more decorations to your pumpkin house. We used the seeds to add detail. Make a hole with the tip of the knife and poke a seed in.
8 Put your pumpkin outside for animals to enjoy. You can get creative here, too – use leftover seeds to make a path, put seeds all over the lid to make roof tiles, or add other natural objects from your garden.
If your pumpkin is rotting and smelly, bring it in and throw it away, or add it to a compost heap.
What might come and eat the pumpkin?
Birds: Blackbirds, robins and other birds that feed on the ground might come and check your pumpkin out. In winter, fruit and veg is a rich and tasty snack.
Mammals: Keep an eye out at night time and you might see a fox chomping on your pumpkin.
Insects: Leave your pumpkin out overnight and then next morning peer inside. Can you see any nibbled bits or tunnels where creepy crawlies have burrowed in?
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Brilliant ideas, will send them on to my 6year old grandson, thank you!
please do not leave pumpkins on the ground, they cause diarrhoea in hedgehogs that could be the death knell for animals already in serious decline.
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