Large pile of different kinds of pumpkin, squash and other gourds

What can I do to stop pumpkin waste?

15 Aug 2017
Pumpkin is not just for Halloween. We send 18,000 tonnes of squash to landfill a year. Save money and food by cooking delicious pumpkin all year round.

1. Start from seed and grow your own pumpkin

Once you've grown one pumpkin, save your seeds to grow another. 

Growing pumpkins is easy.  But if you're not sure how to grow a pumpkin, try these fantastic tips for growing your own pumpkin in your garden or allotment in the Spring.

Once you're a pumpkin-growing expert, you could have a go at some different varieties too. What about planting a few Jack be Little, or some Baby Pam and Baby Bear? This sweet selection of squash will make for a tasty pumpkin patch. 

2. Buy the perfect pumpkin

If you're buying, ask in the shop for a tasty and tough pumpkin. There are so many varieties.

Why not buy from your local market or producer? They will probably have a bigger range of these beauties. 

3. Scoop out as much pumpkin flesh as you can – and store it

Pumpkins will last for a long time before you carve them if you store them correctly. Just remember to keep your pumpkin out of the sunshine and off of wooden surfaces so it stays hard and fresh. 

If you're buying for Halloween, remember that your Jack-O-lantern decoration is fully of lovely, tasty food. Before carving your pumpkin, scoop out all the seeds and get out as much pumpkin flesh as you can with a large serving spoon.  Clean the pumpkin seeds by soaking them in salted water for a couple of hours to get all the flesh off, then dry them out or roast them before storing in an airtight container. 

Fresh pumpkin will keep in the fridge for around 3 days, or frozen it will last up to 8 months.

4. Make a delicious meal with these easy pumpkin recipes

Pumpkins are so versatile in the kitchen, but if you've never tried cooking up a pumpkin feast at home it can be confusing to work out the best pumpkin recipes to try. Don't worry though, we've found 30 recipes to get you started cooking pumpkins at home.

Need a bit of inspiration? Pumpkins are a great base for warming winter soups. Roasted pumpkin makes for a great twist on the usual potatoes for a Sunday dinner — and pumpkin pie is pretty tasty too. If you haven't tried cooking pumpkin pie at home keep this easy pie recipe on hand next Halloween. 

Why not get the whole family to try an easy pumpkin dish? Sweet pumpkin puree will go down well with younger kids, while adventurous eaters might want to have a go at a pumpkin curry (this Jamie Oliver bonfire night curry is so filling, but dairy and gluten free too). And for pumpkin sceptics, pumpkin seeds are delicious roasted too

5. Compost your pumpkin

Make more lovely soil with the bits of pumpkin you don't eat. Find some tips on easy composting here.

6. Save wasted pumpkins on a fun day out

This autumn, head along to a Pumpkin Rescue event near you for food, tips and action – they're loads of fun.

Or save pumpkins and other lovely veg all year round by joining the gleaning community who do just that.

Pumpkin facts for Halloween

Ever wondered why we buy pumpkins at Halloween? Or wanted to know a bit more about where pumpkins come from? We've got you covered. 

  • Halloween began around 2,000 years ago in Europe as a celebration of the end of the harvest. It wasn't named Halloween until the Christian tradition of praying for the dead on 'All Hallows' day – 1 November – became widespread, and 31 of October became known as 'All Hallows Eve'.
  • We didn't always carve pumpkins at Halloween – in the past it was more common to use a turnip or potato.
  • Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds. They're high in iron, and can be roasted to eat. If you haven't had a go, why not try out Phil's Ferrocity, a cheap and easy pumpkin seed based snack. The flowers that grow on pumpkin vines are also edible.

  • Pumpkins used to be known as 'large melons'. The first modern reference to a pumpkin came in the 17th century, when the fairy-tale Cinderella featured a large pumpkin that became an elegant coach. 

  • The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds. When pumpkin pie was first made, it involved cutting off the tops of pumpkins, removing the seeds and filling the pumpkins with milk, spices and honey, then baking them in hot ashes.