Jack-O-Landfill?

I biked past a church pumpkin patch yesterday and was surprised to see a relatively stocked supply, despite the day-after timing. That got me thinking about our pumpkins’ fates.

Pumpkins are the most wasted food in homes (by weight), as detailed in a soon-to-be published study that shall remain nameless. Yet, I can’t get too worked up about pumpkin waste when they’ve served their purpose–a cultural, not a culinary one.

Besides, there are so many more galling kinds of food waste. At the same time…that doesn’t mean we have to let ourĀ  pumpkins go for naught. We can cook with their innards.

This tends to work best with the sugar pie variety of pumpkin, but can happen with most any kind. The ideas are endless, from muffins to cookies to soup to burgers fries.

And then there are the glorious seeds. There’s a container of them in my fridge awaiting roasting. (Tomorrow, I’ve promised myself).

If it’s too late to eat your pumpkin (and if you live in a colder climate, even carved ones could still be edible), try to keep it out of the landfill. In other words, compost it!

Seattle and San Francisco residents have it easy. They can slip their pumpkins in their mandatory curbside food waste bin. The rest of us must turn to backyard bins. If that’s not on, maybe we can “return” pumpkins to the woods or bring them to that farm with a pumpkin cannon.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Ours will be composted once they’ve sagged beyond recognition. lol

  2. KitKat
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    We wait until Halloween afternoon to carve our pumpkins. Then, after trick or treats, they go in the fridge for later cooking.
    I don’t notice any difference in taste between the jack o’ lantern and sugar pie variety, I think it’s more a size issue.
    A few of our neighbors left their old pumpkins in an abandoned lot on our street. While I appreciated the intent, I’m not looking forward to the smell and resulting critters.

  3. Posted November 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I understand in our area that many pumpkin patches will donate pumpkins to the Zoo. Elephants like eating pumpkins. If this is true, then couldn’t we begin an awareness campaign not to waste – but share with animals? And, don’t get me started about fruit trees! :) I’ve harvested over 20,000 pounds (yes 10 tons) of urban fruit + another 90 tons of farmers’ market produce to feed the hungry. Anyone can do this really. Imagine if we each took on only one tree a year.

    BTW, Jonathan…glad to see your book is out! I look forward to reading it. Good job.
    Anna, The Lemon Lady in California

  4. Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I’m OCD enough that I actually ‘rescued’ a perfectly intact large jack o’ lantern-style pumpkin off the side of the highway this past fall (I’m thinking it might have bounced off a truck…???) — taking it home to roast and puree the flesh (freezing it in one and two cup quantities — the amounts typically called for in recipes), and yes, bake the lovely seeds…..

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