Save our squash: What to make with your leftover Halloween pumpkins

With over 14 million pumpkins set to go to waste during Halloween this year, make sure you give your squashes and goards a second life with these waste-free recipes

Friday 29 October 2021 12:15
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<p>Pumpkin spice latte? Say no more </p>

Pumpkin spice latte? Say no more

While pumpkin carving, trick or treating and scary movies are all on the cards for Halloween this year, the real fear factor will be the number of pumpkins that go to waste.

With families making up for missing out on the fun last year, a bigger Halloween means that a predicted 35 million pumpkins will be bought and carved, and, without intervention, a spine-chilling 14.5 million will end up in the bin as food waste.

Let’s put this into perspective with some horrifying statistics: over 5 billion litres of water and 98 million tons of carbon emissions are generated in the growing, storage and transportation of all those pumpkins. That’s enough water to fill over 2,000 Olympic swimming pools and the equivalent of powering nearly 23,000 homes for a year.

To help everyone use up their Halloween pumpkins, squashes and gourds for their intended, and often forgotten, purpose – as food – food waste fighters Oddbox have launched an SOS, or Save Our Squash hotline. With no run-of-the-mill pumpkin soup in sight, the hotline will provide unique recipes to inspire people to get creative in the kitchen and help the planet at the same time.

To get people excited about making use of the whole pumpkin – even the stringy bits – the recipes will include sweet and savoury pumpkiny twists on everyday classics. Simply send the type of squash you want to save and two ingredients you already have to sos@oddbox.co.uk, and you’ll get bespoke recipe inspiration in return.

To get you excited about your pumpkin’s potential, here’s a sneak peak of the low-waste recipe options.

Pumpkin spice latte with maple whip cream

Try this zero waste pumpkin spice latte recipe. The pumpkin flesh and skin is turned into a creamy puree and the pumpkin strings and seeds into delicious crispy cinnamon toppings.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For the pumpkin latte:

100g pumpkin

½ tsp cinnamon

⅓ tsp ginger

⅓ tsp nutmeg

100ml espresso or strong coffee

300ml milk of choice

For the maple cream:

300 ml whipping cream

2 tbsp maple syrup

For the pumpkin seeds:

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vegetable oil

Method:

Make the pumpkin puree: preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4. Cut the pumpkin in half. Use a spoon and scoop all of the pumpkin strings and seeds out. Set the seeds aside for the roasted pumpkin seeds. Cut the pumpkin halves into pieces, and place in a large shallow baking dish. Fill up the baking dish with about 1cm of water. Put the pumpkins into your preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender, and the pumpkin skin soft and lightly charred. Place the pumpkin into a food processor. Blend until you have smooth pumpkin puree.

Make the roasted pumpkin seeds: separate the pumpkin strings and seeds by using your fingers to push the seeds out – do not discard the strings. Place the seeds in a small saucepan, cover with a little water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain well. Place the seeds in a baking tray, along with the pumpkin strings. Drizzle with the vegetable oil, season with cinnamon and roast at 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4, for 5-8 minutes, until crispy.

Make the maple whipped cream: in a mixing bowl, whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks. Add the maple syrup and whisk again for a few seconds, or until medium peaks.

Make the latte: put 90g of pumpkin puree, spices, expresso, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour into heatproof glasses or mugs and spoon over the maple whipped cream. Sprinkle with the cinnamon pumpkin strings and seeds before serving.

Spiced pumpkin porridge with cinnamon pumpkin seeds

A pumpkin-based porridge to start the day

Try this pumpkin based breakfast recipe showcasing a creamy grated pumpkin porridge topped with caramelised skin-on pumpkin wedges, and crispy cinnamon pumpkin seeds.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

300g pumpkin

For the porridge:

100g rolled oats

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp vanilla extract

300ml milk of choice

For the caramelised pumpkins:

1 tbsp light muscovado sugar

½ tsp allspice

1 tbsp butter/vegan butter

For the pumpkin seeds:

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vegetable oil

For the toppings:

2 tbsp nut butter

20g pecans

2 tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Make the caramelised pumpkin wedges: cut 200g of the pumpkin into 1cm thick wedges with the skin on. Add the light brown sugar and allspice. Toss to coat. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the sugar-spiced pumpkin wedges, and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until soft and slightly caramelised.

Make the pumpkin porridge: grate the 100g pumpkin left, and add to a saucepan with the rolled oats, mixed spice, vanilla and milk. Cook over a gentle heat, until warm and creamy.

Make the roasted pumpkin seeds: preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4. Separate the pumpkin strings and seeds by using your fingers to push the seeds out – do not discard the strings. Place the seeds in a small saucepan, cover with a little water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain well. Place the seeds in a baking tray, along with the pumpkin strings. Drizzle with the vegetable oil, season with cinnamon and roast for 5-8 minutes, until crispy.

Serve: top the creamy porridge with the caramelised pumpkin wedges, cinnamon pumpkin strings and seeds, a dollop of nut butter and a few pecans. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve.

Pumpkin houmous grilled cheese

Pumpkin is also great in houmous... and grilled cheese sandwiches

Turn your pumpkin into a creamy houmous and make a grilled cheese sandwich packed with autumnal flavours! The pumpkin houmous can be made in advance and the grilled cheese cooked in minutes when ready to eat.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For the houmous:

300g pumpkin

½ tin chickpeas (200g)

1 tbsp tahini

2 garlic cloves, chopped

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper

For the grilled cheese:

4 slices sourdough bread

125g mozzarella slices/vegan cheese

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

20g rocket

4 tbsp butter/vegan butter

For the pumpkin seeds:

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 pinch salt

Method:

Make the pumpkin puree: preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4. Cut the pumpkin in half. Use a spoon and scoop all of the pumpkin strings and seeds out. Set the seeds aside for the roasted pumpkin seeds. Cut 300g pumpkin into pieces, and place in a large shallow baking dish. Fill up the baking dish with about 1cm of water.

Put the pumpkins into your preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender, and the pumpkin skin soft and lightly charred. Place the pumpkin into a food processor. Blend until you have a smooth pumpkin puree.

Make the roasted pumpkin seeds: place the reserved pumpkin seeds in a small saucepan, cover with a little water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain well. Place the seeds in a baking tray, drizzle with the vegetable oil, season with salt and roast at 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4, for 5-8 minutes, until crispy.

Make the houmous: add the pumpkin puree, chickpeas, tahini, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, olive oil, water, lemon juice to a food processor, and puree until the houmous is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the grilled cheese: heat up a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter to melt. Grill the bread slices, in the melted butter for a few minutes on each side, until lightly crispy and golden. Turn down the heat, and remove the slices of bread from the pan. On the inside of half of the slices of bread (so 2 slices), evenly layer the mozzarella slices, pumpkin houmous, chopped sage, and rocket. Add the top pieces of bread. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, and place the sandwiches back in the pan, cover with a lid (or use a large baking tray) and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden on each side, about 3-4 minutes. Cut in half and serve!

For more tips, tricks and inspiration for reducing food waste, visit Oddbox’s website, here

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