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Overcome your food waste fears this Halloween

Scared of food waste this Halloween? Worried that the ghosts of pumpkins past might come back to haunt you?

Earthwatch is here to banish that fear: we have collated our top 5 pumpkin recipes so that your pumpkin doesn’t need to be one of the 8 million thrown away uneaten this Halloween.

Note: the larger pumpkins sold for carving can have bitter flesh, so it’s best to use these in the sweet dishes.

And our health and safety notice: once your carved pumpkin has served its spooky purpose, don't use it in any recipes, or it might result in something scary!


1. Roast pumpkin seeds

Rinse the seeds off and dry them with a clean tea towel.

Toss the seeds in oil and salt. You can try adding different herbs and spices to introduce new flavours – we like paprika.

Bake the seeds on a baking tray at 180°C for about 10-15 minutes, until they are a light brown.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

2. Pumpkin soup


1 kg pumpkin

2 onions or shallots

3 garlic cloves

700 ml vegetable stock

1 tbsp mild curry powder

Optional – a pot of double cream or a vegan alternative


Chop up the pumpkin flesh you’ve removed from your carved masterpiece into 2-3 cm chunks, then roughly chop the shallots or onions and garlic.

Fry the shallots or onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin flesh and cook for a further 6-8 minutes, until everything is browned.

Stir in the mild curry powder and then add the vegetable stock and the garlic.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

Blend up the soup and serve. You can add double cream (or a vegan alternative) to make it extra delicious!

3. Pumpkin curry


1 tbsp sunflower oil

3 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste

2 onions, finely chopped

3 large stalks of lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife

6 cardamom pods

1 tbsp mustard seed

About 1 kg pumpkin

250 ml vegetable stock

400 ml can reduced-fat coconut milk

400 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 limes

Large handful of mint leaves

Naan bread, to serve


Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan, then gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamom and mustard seed for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

Stir the pumpkin into the pan and coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk.

Bring everything to a simmer, add the chickpeas, then cook for about 10 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

  • At this point, you can stop cooking and freeze the mixture for up to a month.

If you’re not freezing the mixture, or if you’ve just defrosted the curry, squeeze in the juice of one lime, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve alongside.

Just before serving, sprinkle torn mint leaves on top.

Serve with lime wedges and warm naan breads.

4.Pumpkin risotto


About 400 g pumpkin

1 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle for the pumpkin

2 garlic cloves

8 spring onions

25 g butter

200 g risotto rice

2 tsp ground cumin

1 litre hot vegetable stock, plus extra splash if needed

50 g grated parmesan (or vegetarian/vegan alternative)

Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped


Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.

Chop up the pumpkin into 1.5 cm cubes, put them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes.

While the pumpkin is roasting, crush the garlic cloves and chop up the spring onions.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil with the butter in a large pan over medium heat.

Add the spring onions and garlic and, once the onions are soft, add the risotto rice and the cumin.

Stir for a minute, then add about 150 ml of stock and stir every now and then until it has all been absorbed. Carry on adding and stirring stock until all the stock has gone – this will take about 20 minutes.

Once the rice is cooked (you can add more hot water if needed), stir in the cheese, the coriander and the pumpkin.

5. Pumpkin and ginger cake


250 g pumpkin flesh

50 g black treacle

140 g golden syrup

140 g light soft brown sugar

100 ml semi-skimmed milk

100 g cold butter diced, plus extra for greasing

225 g self-raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 tsp mixed spice

2 medium eggs, beaten

8-10 chunks crystallised ginger, thinly sliced


Put the pumpkin in a microwave-proof bowl with a little water and a loose lid (a Tupperware might be easiest).

Cook in a microwave on high for 5-10 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.

Drain the water and mash until smooth.

Put the treacle, syrup, sugar and milk in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan.

Grease and line a 900 g loaf tin with a strip of baking parchment.

Sift the flour, bicarb, spices and a pinch of salt into a bowl together.

Tip in the diced butter and rub with your fingertips until no big lumps remain.

Whisk the mash and the egg into the lukewarm syrupy mixture, then stir everything into the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, scatter with most of the crystallised ginger and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer poked into the centre comes out with just moist crumbs attached.

Scatter over the remaining sliced ginger to stick, then cool in the tin.

You can eat it once cooled, but it tastes even better if wrapped in parchment and foil, and left for a couple of days to mature.


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