Don’t make a scary amount of waste this Halloween!
With over one million pumpkins sold every year in the UK there’s potential for a scarily large amount of food to end up in the bin after Halloween. Local councils, through Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (OWP), are encouraging residents to home compost their pumpkins this year.
Pumpkins have been on display in the supermarkets for several weeks and already families are carving them up into scary jack-o-lanterns ready to celebrate Halloween on Friday 31st October. Once the 1st of November arrives and Halloween is over, hundreds of thousands of ornately carved pumpkins, not to mention all the scraped out pulp goes straight into the bin, and ends up in landfill.
Cllr John Tanner, chair of OWP is calling on residents to join the pumpkin amnesty: “Halloween and carving out pumpkins is great fun but it’s scary how much pumpkin gets chucked in the general rubbish. So please put your pumpkin waste in a compost bin and make sure the ghost of Halloween doesn’t scare after the 31st of October”.
Some families join in the American tradition of making pumpkin pie, but despite tasty options such as pumpkin soup (see recipe below) or roast pumpkin, cooking with pumpkins doesn’t appeal to most Brits: the compost bin is the next best destination.
Roy King, from Kennington is a volunteer Master Composter; he advises “The seeds and pulp that you spoon out of your pumpkin can go straight into the compost bin as soon as you have scraped them out. Once Halloween is over, you can add the carved shell too. Don’t forget to mix dry ingredients like leaves, twigs and shredded paper with the ‘wet’ pumpkins to get the perfect balance for composting.”
“If you don’t already own a compost bin, visit www.recyclenow.com/compost or phone 0845 077 0757 for details on how to buy one of Oxfordshire’s subsidised bins” John added.
Pumpkin soup recipe
Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins
1 large pumpkin, cut in chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium red chilli, chopped
1 can coconut milk or cream
lots of coriander leaves
salt and pepper
- Cut the pumpkin into quarters so they are a manageable size to work with. Scoop out the seeds and remove the skin
- Chop the flesh into small chunks and cook in boiling water until soft
- Meanwhile, add the chilli, garlic, half the coriander, salt and pepper to a blender and whiz until well blended
- When the pumpkin is soft, drain the cooking water but reserve it. Put the pumpkin into the blender with the chilli mix and blend
- Put the mixture back into a saucepan, add the coconut milk and simmer. If it is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water
- Serve in large bowls and add the remaining chopped coriander for garnish