Posed pumpkin patch pictures are a celebrity must-have for Halloween, but experts claim celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Reese Witherspoon are encouraging food waste
- Environmental campaigners warn against excessive pumpkin picking this year
- READ MORE: Wildlife experts urge the public NOT to dump their pumpkins in the woods after Halloween amid fears decaying gourds attract rats, kill hedgehogs, and upset fungi
The run-up to Halloween means just one thing for family-orientated celebrities and influencers – it’s time to get down to the pumpkin patch for the annual autumnal photo opp.
This week, Kylie Jenner capitalised on this content gold with a photo dump of her pumpkin-filled day out with her kids, followed by a shot of her unfeasibly large haul of squashes (no less than nine), carved and candlelit outside her LA home.
She’s by no means alone – Miley Cyrus, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Simone Biles and many many more have all been posing with the jack o’lanterns this October.
In fact, Chrissy Teigen’s personal pumpkin collection was so big that some of the ones positioned around her family home in Beverly Hills were bigger than her children.
However, environmental campaigners are denouncing this growing trend because it encourages the rest of us to follow suit and buy large quantities of pumpkins and carve them for display.
Celebrities capitalise off the pumpkin patch with content gold, including Stassi Schroder (pictured) who posted snaps with her baby at the patch
The problem with this is that, once carved, it only takes a few days for the rot to set in, rendering it inedible and therefore destined for the bin.
Research from the environmental charity Hubbub states that of the 30 million pumpkins that will be bought for carving this Halloween in this country, 16 million won’t be eaten – that’s the equivalent of 95 million meals that will go to waste, at an estimated cost of around £26.7 million.
It’s why Hubbub has this year launched the Eat your Pumpkin campaign, encouraging us not to carve pumpkins, but to cook with them instead.
Admit it, who hasn’t taken a knife to their Halloween pumpkin sometimes weeks in advance, only to dump it unceremoniously into the bin on the 1st November in a fitting state of decay?
Chucking away so much food is wrong, states the zero-waste celebrity chef Tom Hunt, when ‘one in nine people are hungry, and the world is burning – our food system is the biggest contributor to climate change, producing one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s the biggest driver of biodiversity loss.’
But, he adds, ‘that also means it’s the solution – simply reducing the food waste in your home is one of the biggest things you can do to help minimise your impact on the planet.’
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): ‘When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it.
And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.’
Last year, Ferne McCann (pictured) took to Instagram to give her followers a glimpse of her trip to the pumpkin patch with her daughter
Celebrities, such as Kourtney Kardashian (pictured), have posted snaps on social media with an excessive amount of pumpkins
Reese Witherspoon (pictured) decorated her porch with a somewhat excessive seven pumpkins
Before you say ‘buzzkill’ though, there is a solution.
This Halloween the illustrator and lockdown saviour Rob Biddulph, whose Draw with Rob videos kept millions of kids (and adults) happily entertained during the pandemic, has now come to the pumpkins’ rescue.
In a video launched this week on his Youtube channel, in collaboration with Hubbub, Biddulph has swapped knives for pens, sharing inspiration and instructions for how to draw onto pumpkins instead of cutting into them.
He’s devised three easy designs – a black cat, a ghost and a friendly skull – all to be penned onto the pumpkins.
Biddulph promises there are advantages other than to just the planet. ‘Firstly, it’s much easier,’ he says. ‘No more random bits of pumpkin falling off when you make a careless cut.’
Kourtney Kardashian shared a pictured of her hallway to Instagram (pictured), which was decorated with 50 pumpkins of all shapes and sizes
Kylie Jenner had an equally impressive display of both carved and uncarved pumpkins (pictured)
What do chefs think?
Chris Boustead and Laura Christie launched an intimate bistro in Cheshire, Linden Stores, with a prime focus on food sustainability.
In conversation with FEMAIL, co-owners Chris and Laura said: ‘We live in Cheshire and there are currently more pumpkin patches than we know what to do with.
‘The pumpkins that are largely grown for this kind of thing are not high-quality aimed at human consumption really – they’re grown to be big and make great decorations rather than for flavour, so I really wouldn’t advise keeping them to whip up a gourmet meal.’
The restaurateurs recommended shoppers to pick squashes over carving pumpkins because they stay fresher for longer.
‘If you want to use your display pumpkins for eating later, I’d recommend buying the high-quality seasonal squashes, not carving into them, and using them as they are for decoration.
‘The larger pumpkins can be bad for the diet of many native animals so I wouldn’t advise leaving them out to be used in that way.’
They concluded: ‘So, in short, the main way to combat food waste is to use seasonal high-quality squashes that can be eaten or simply to not have a pumpkin at all.
‘That said, we are parents to a seven-year-old and recognise there is an element of the special memories in the same way as a Christmas Tree or Christmas wreath.
‘So personally, we try to stick to one pumpkin and view the rest of our Halloween decorations in the same way as our Christmas decorations – keep them year after year and steer away from the more disposable single use kind.’
Gordon Ramsay’s former number two and current owner of acclaimed Bank House and Number Eight restaurants Stuart Gillies shared a similar viewpoint.
He told FEMAIL that the type of pumpkins sold in supermarkets at Halloween are designed for carving so aren’t good to cook with – and suggests they should be composted or donated to animal feeds after the festivities are over.
Secondly, he adds, ‘children can do it – usually the adults are the only ones allowed to handle the knives.’ Indeed it’s frankly not surprising that Hubbub estimates some 1.9 million households in the UK don’t actually enjoy carving pumpkins.
The key point of drawing instead of carving, Biddulph explains, is that ‘your pumpkin will stay fresher for longer if it’s intact, so you can display it for as long as you like, and turn it into something delicious to eat at a later date.’
And, he suggests, ‘if you use an edible-ink pen you can roast the skin too, which means zero wastage.’
To get around the candle issue, Biddulph suggests surrounding several smaller pumpkins (he recommends the ‘very tasty’ munchkin variety) with tealights, or running a string of fairy lights through them. ‘Or do both – it will give your pumpkins a great ghoulish glow.’
Hunt, meanwhile, advises avoiding buying the big supermarket pumpkins, ‘which have been bred to be carved – although they’re still edible, they don’t taste as nice’.
There are, he adds, ‘so many beautiful varieties of squash that taste incredible and are perfectly fine to carve’.
His simplest go-to recipe is a ‘velvety soup – pumpkin has the most amazing texture – you barely need to put anything in, it can be literally a pumpkin puree, well seasoned with a bit of butter or olive oil.’
Hunt points out that so long as the pumpkin hasn’t been carved, they can actually last for months. ‘I have about seven squash at home,’ he says. ‘They’re beautiful to have as edible ornaments.’
Hearty pumpkin soup recipe
Ingredients (serves four)
- Three cups of pumpkin/vegetable/chicken stock
- 500g pumpkin puree
- A large knob of butter
- One chopped onion
- Two chopped carrots
- One finely chopped garlic clove
- One cup of cream
- ½ tsp chopped thyme, salt and pepper
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the garlic, onion, carrots, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook for five to eight minutes or until softened.
- When cooked, transfer to a food processor and blitz together with the pumpkin puree until smooth, then return to the saucepan, add in the stock.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to very low and add the cream and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
Source- Ellie Bain, Gousto
Pumpkin ravioli with sage butter recipe
Ingredients (serves four)
- Four eggs
- 400g ’00’ pasta flour
- Four tsp olive oil
- 350g roast pumpkin flesh
- 100g grated parmesan
- 15g fresh sage
- 75g butter
- Salt and pepper
For pumpkin filling:
- Add the roast pumpkin, grated parmesan and a big pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor and blitz until smooth.
For the ravioli:
Add the eggs, pasta flour and olive oil to a food processor and blitz until a crumbly mixture forms.
Knead the mixture for ten minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic, then wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
When ready, cut the dough into four pieces and roll out into thin pasta sheets (approx. two mm).
On one sheet, spoon out a couple of teaspoons of filling every few inches, then brush around each mound of filling with water, place the second sheet on top and cut around each mound with a sharp knife. Crimp the edges of each to seal them.
Repeat until all the filling or pasta sheets have been used up, then add the ravioli to a pot of boiling water for three minutes or until they float to the top of the water.
For the sage butter:
- Heat the butter in a frying pan until melted and foaming, then add the sage leaves and cook until the leaves crisp up and the butter browns.
- Season to taste, and drizzle over the cooked ravioli.
Source- Ellie Bain, Gousto
Source: Read Full Article