Halloween is synonymous with pumpkin carving, a centuries-old tradition rooted in Irish lore. Each year they sit on our doorsteps and light the way for trick-or-treaters, but once Halloween is over, 1.3 billion pounds of Halloween pumpkins make their way to landfills in the US alone. Here they generate greenhouse gas emissions.
Luckily, pumpkins are as versatile as they are delicious and can be repurposed in many different ways once you’re done with them. Here are some eco-friendly things you can do with your old Halloween pumpkin to help keep them out of landfills.
1. Compost it
Like all organic, plant-based food waste, a pumpkin will easily break down in the compost. Cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces and add them to your green bin or backyard compost heap.
2. Bury it
If composting isn’t available, burying it in your garden is another option. Microbes and other critters in the soil will start breaking down the pumpkin and turning it into rich soil.
3. Leave it for wildlife
You can also cut your pumpkin up and leave it in your yard for local wildlife, like birds and squirrels, to enjoy. Just ensure the pumpkin isn’t seasoned or salted.
4. Feed it to chickens
Loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, and zinc, your old pumpkin can make a delicious snack if you have chickens or know someone who does.
5. Harvest the seeds
If you haven’t carved your pumpkin, you can open it and retrieve the seed for a delicious and nutritious snack. Pumpkin seeds are low in carbs, high in protein and a good source of iron and calcium.
6. Make pumpkin puree
Once you’ve harvested your pumpkin’s seeds, you can make a puree from the remainder. Quarter the pumpkin, lay it skin-down in a baking dish filled with about a cup of water and bake for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees F. A knife should be able to cut into the pumpkin’s flesh easily. Remove the roasted pumpkin from the skin and process in a food processor until smooth.
7. Make a pumpkin planter
This option also works best if you haven’t carved your pumpkin. To make a temporary planter, cut the top off, remove the seeds, and drill a small hole in the bottom for drainage. Fill with potting soil and plant your favourite seasonal plants.
8. Keep it a little longer
Pumpkins are ubiquitous with the harvest season, which isn’t over until around Thanksgiving in the US towards the end of November. If you haven’t carved your pumpkin, leave it for another month as a harvest season decoration, then refer to one of our other ideas for reusing your old pumpkin.
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