Oxfordshire residents asked to cut scary amount of food waste this Halloween

Residents are being asked to look at original ways to make the most of their food waste this Halloween with a number of new ideas for seasonal recipes.

Halloween and pumpkin consumption could be to blame for a big spike in the amount of household food waste. This means that October and November have the second and third highest volume of food waste after the Christmas peak.

A pumpkin can weigh 3-8 kilograms, so even if these were of the largest type, this could equate to 160,000 of them being thrown away in Oxfordshire alone, and a terrifying total of 12.8 million in Britain!

Yet so much of what is scooped out could be eaten. The message is simple: Carve it, Cook it, Eat it – many people are opting for a treat and eating the tasty insides of the scary faced vegetable rather than throwing it away as waste every year – which means money is not wasted and an added bonus it makes a delicious meal.

Councillor Constance, Cabinet member for the environment at Oxfordshire County Council said: “Eighteen thousand tonnes of pumpkin are thrown away across Britain each year.”

“In Oxfordshire, on average over the three-year period from 2017 to 2019 we dealt with around ten per cent more food waste during October and November, compared to September.

“Yet, with a bit of thought and creativity, pumpkins can have a useful life beyond Halloween. There are so many healthy and green alternatives to throwing them away.

“You can make delicious soups, curries, cakes and even pumpkin brownies. Make sure you visit the Pumpkin Festival Good Food Oxford website or Love Food Hate Waste for recipes.

“If you do decide to dispose of your pumpkins, remember to compost them at home or put them in your food recycling bin. Pumpkins and other food waste can be recycled and used for future uses such as electricity and fertiliser for local farm land.”

Festival of Pumpkins

To coincide with Halloween, the Oxfordshire Pumpkin Festival is returning for its seventh year with events taking place across the county run by Good Food Oxford and Hubbub. This year’s festival runs from Friday 23 October to Sunday 1 November 2020.

This annual event is a celebration of food: creatively encouraging people to think about the food they throw away, challenging preconceptions and teaching new skills.

November usually starts with a flood of pumpkins going to waste, but Good Food Oxford organisations are encouraging people to squash food waste by eating rather than discarding the flesh of their Halloween pumpkins.

The festival is packed full of different socially distanced events from start to finish. There is something for everyone, with activities including online cooking demos, farm tour at Tolhurst Organic, pumpkin carving and cooking, pumpkin awareness day, farmers’ and community market stalls.

This year, Good Food Oxford suggest that we look forward to next year and grow our own pumpkins which we will have more incentive to eat because we have put all the hard ghoul-ing work into it, or why not buy a locally grown, tastier pumpkin. All the events will promote seasonal eating and not wasting food, with online recipes and tips to reduce food waste.

The full festival programme is here: https://goodfoodoxford.org/oxfordshire-pumpkin-festival/

Hubbub UK is also hosting some recipes on its Instagram channel from the 26th October, including ‘Thai pumpkin curry’, ‘How to #EatYourPumpkin’ and ‘Trick or Eating with Kids.’