Pumpkin

Another Halloween soon will have been and gone, leaving another pumpkin left to waste.

The entire pumpkin doesn’t need to be abandoned – but you might be wondering how to use pumpkin seeds.

As it turns out, they have many uses.

Research by Too Good To Go, a surplus food app, found more than two thirds of us don’t know what to do with the pumpkin seeds they have leftover after carving – and only 15% of Brits actually end up eating them.

There’s plenty of misunderstanding too, as Hubbub, who focus on waste and the environment, say that each Halloween 15 million pumpkins are carved by UK households and not eaten. 

In their survey, one in three respondents mistakenly believe that a carving pumpkin can’t be eaten.

With the aim of reducing waste, here’s how you can make the most the seeds you find in your pumpkin.

Roasted pumpkin seed recipe

An easy and healthy way to enjoy pumpkin seeds is to roast them.

Too Good To Go recommend the following:

  • Scoop the seeds from the pumpkin, then do your best to separate as much of the stringy pulp as possible from the seeds. 
  • Place the seeds in a bowl with water, and whisk quickly. The seeds will separate from the remaining pulp, and float to the top. 
  • Press the seeds with a tea towel to dry them, then place them on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. 
  • Bake at 170C for 10-15 minutes, or until crunchy. 

Enhancing other meals

You can eat them alone, or sprinkle them in things like muesli and granola to add more flavour and texture.

Adding them to other recipes can make them easier to eat too.

You could sprinkle them on top of a pumpkin soup or mix into a flapjack recipe.

Stuart Collins, a chef who’s starred in the Great British Menu, says you can make a pumpkin seed butter to add to meals like risotto or just to spread over toast.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Dice butter into 1cm cubes.
  • Heat until the butter turns to a golden brown colour.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped sage and rosemary and chopped pumpkin seeds.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Plant pumpkin seeds

You could always keep the cycle going more sustainably by growing your own pumpkin patch.

Gardening retailer, Primrose, says it’s simple.

  • Briefly rinse the seeds in running water to remove them of any pulp.
  • Once you have your seeds, pick out the biggest ones as these will have a better chance of germinating.
  • Store them in a cool, dry spot for one week then keep them in the fridge.
  • In April, plant your pumpkin seeds ready for October.

DIY face scrub and mask

Away from food, you could get creative and make a DIY face scrub and mask.

Taking the seeds, try blending them with honey so they’re crushed and the mix is slightly textured.

Or, grind the seeds first them mix them into a nourishing base, such as honey or yoghurt.

Let the mix sit on your skin for 10 minutes then gently wipe off while allowing the seeds to lightly exfoliate skin.

Neo Chatyoka, founder of Uhuru Botanicals Ltd, says she likes to ‘soak the pumpkin seeds overnight in rosewater as this softens the seeds.’

How long do pumpkin seeds last?

Stored at room temperature, you should aim to use pumpkin seeds up within two to three months.

Refrigerated they can last for up to a year.

What are the benefits of pumpkin seeds?

Though small, pumpkin seeds are packed with nutritious value.

They are have antioxidants, which fight against free radical damage.

They’re also a good source of magnesium, which you need for sleep and blood pressure regulation.

Studies have suggested the oil in the seeds can improve cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women and help urinary disorders.

Sara Herandi, founder of supplements brand Deja, says: ‘Pumpkin seed oil is considered useful in Ayurvedic medicines, both orally and topically. 

‘The oil has some useful components. These include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, amino acids, zinc, and tryptophan.

‘It’s also rich in vitamins A, C, and E.’

The benefits are far ranging, so it’s worth adding pumpkin seeds to your meals over letting them go to waste.

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