Food waste is in the news: one of the Earthshot prizes was awarded to the City of Milan for their food waste hubs and similar initiatives, although not necessarily on that scale are happening all over County Durham too. However, we all have a role to play and Halloween is a great time to be redoubling our efforts to avoid the waste of perfectly good food.  Every year UK households buy thousands of pumpkins and squashes which get carved into the most mazing shapes, only to end in the bin only a few days later.  And that’s something we can tackle.  Food waste makes up a big percentage of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change and the care and energy that has gone into producing the food in the first place is something we  should be valuing properly.

Every pumpkin, whether it was sold as a carving pumpkin or not, is edible: flesh and seeds, and even the skin -although some of the skins need a decent time to cook.  Pumpkins make brilliant soup, especially good with some spices and eaten on a cold and wet autumn day, and excellent curries and the roasted seeds are a lovely (and healthy!) snack.

We’re delighted that it is now possible to go and harvest your own pumpkin grown in County Durham, from East Grange Farm near Durham City or if you’re based in the south or the county you could make a foray into North Yorkshire.

If you’re carving a pumpkin for yourself or with your children or grandchildren, have a look at the recipes elsewhere on the Food Durham site or those on environmental charity Hubbub’s.  If you’re doing a community carving event, or any other event around Halloween, try and weave in messages around food waste and how we can all do better, give them some yummy pumpkin-based foods to try and point them in the direction of those recipes!  If at the end your pumpkins look a bit too sad to turn into something you’d want to eat, you can also compost it and turn it into fertility for your garden or allotment.  Together we can reduce the amount of food that goes in the bin!