How to Zero-Waste this Year’s Jack O'Lantern

We’re rapidly approaching the last few days before Halloween, have you carved your pumpkins yet? If not, got any good ideas in mind? One excellent idea is to not throw away those pumpkin guts. America is leading the world in food waste. According to the Guardian, Americans throw out half of all their produce, which amounts to about one third of all their total food. There are of course problems on the entire distribution chain and not just with the consumers, but consumer choices are definitely one important aspect. So this Halloween, in the spirit of sustainability and the spooks, let's look at how to zero-waste this year's pumpkin.


1. Roast the Seeds

If you’ve never had them before, roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious and extremely easy to make. Separate them from the guts, and then let them soak in a cup of warm water for 5ish minutes to get the last little bit of pumpkin guts out. Dry them and mix them in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of a cooking oil per half cup of seeds. Add any seasoning you like. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and lay out the seeds in a single layer on a cooking sheet. Cook for 30-45 minutes/until they’re golden brown, stirring occasionally. I prefer using olive oil and a garlic, dill, sea salt, and pepper mix, but you can literally use any spice mix you want. Enjoy


2. Stock the Guts

The second recipe is somehow even simpler than the first. What you’re going to be making is a pumpkin and vegetable soup stock. All you have to do is boil the pumpkin guts in a large pot for about 30 minutes then strain it, and you’ve now got an amazing (and freezable) soup stock that you can use as a broth in and of itself or mixed into chicken noodle for extra fall flavors. The best part of this stock is that because you’re straining it you can boil the pumpkin guts with any leftover vegetable scraps, such as onion skins, carrot tops, cabbage ends, and so on. This will add extra flavor and get a little extra use out of your produce.


3. Compost the Shell

As for the shell, well, there are plenty of recipes for it but once it’s been outside for that long it’s usually not safe to eat. Probably not even for the wildlife unless it’s cold enough out. But that’s what the compost bin is for. Be sure to look up community composting sights if you don’t or can’t have one of your own, and don’t forget to clean out any candle wax!

Thanks for reading, and hope your Halloween celebrations are as fun as they are spooky! If you liked this article and want to keep up with more waste-reducing and environmental tips check out our Instagram, Facebook, and Journal page for more. And be sure to like, subscribe, and comment!

Editors note: Enough readers have pointed out a fourth tip that we decided to add it. Chickens apparently love pumpkin, seed, guts, shell and all. Just cut off and compost any part that looks moldy and then treat your flock a delicious fall snack.

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