How to Recycle Your Pumpkin Waste
By Laura Splisbury
Decorating with pumpkins for Halloween can be a super fun and easy way to give your home a fall vibe, but what do you do with them after Halloween? Many people just throw them away, but there are better, more sustainable alternatives. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
After you’re finished displaying your pumpkins on your front porch, carve them open and scoop out the seeds. Pumpkin seeds can be a nutritious snack, and they’re easy to roast!
Here’s how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the seeds. Scoop them out of the pumpkin with a large spoon and separate them from the pulp and fibers. You can eat both the outside white shell part and the inside green part of pumpkin seeds, so there’s no need to shell them.
Wash the seeds and dry them. Rinse the pumpkin seeds with water in a colander and try to get off as much pulp as you can. Then, let them dry before proceeding. The dryer they are when you roast them, the sooner they will cook.
Season the seeds with your choice of seasoning. Roasted pumpkin seeds taste good with either a savory or sweet seasoning, so season them to your taste. Just put them in a bowl, coat them with oil and sprinkle on the spices. One easy way to season them is with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Once you sprinkle the spices on, toss the seeds to ensure they’re seasoned evenly.
Roast the seeds for 12 to 15 minutes. Toss them about every five minutes to make sure they roast evenly. They should be golden brown and smell nutty.
And there you have it! They’re the perfect fall snack to take on the go.
Donate to a Local Farm for Livestock Feed
Several livestock animals can eat pumpkins, so why not donate your pumpkins to a local farm? Chickens, pigs, horses, sheep, goats and more farm animals all appreciate pumpkins as a tasty, nutritional treat. Just make sure that any pumpkins you donate don’t have any decorations or paint left on them, as those can be toxic to animals.
Turn the Pumpkins Into a Nourishing Face Mask
Besides being tasty, pumpkins are very nourishing for your skin. They contain many antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, which help moisturize your skin. They can also help boost your collagen production, keeping your skin smooth. You can use your old pumpkins to make a face mask for a spa night so your skin can soak up all the benefits.
Here’s an easy pumpkin face mask recipe you can make at home.
½ cup of blended pumpkin puree
¼ cup of honey (raw honey is best)
1 teaspoon of olive or almond oil
Mix all the ingredients and then apply the mixture to your skin. Leave it on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash it off. It will leave your skin feeling hydrated and smooth!
Make Them Into a Bird Feeder
Any pumpkins that haven’t gone moldy are perfect candidates for bird feeders. All you have to do is cut the pumpkin in half to make a bowl (after removing the seeds/pulp), drill some holes into it to hang it in a tree with some string and fill it with birdseed or your leftover dried pumpkin seeds. It’s that simple! If you anticipate rainy weather in your area, it’s also a good idea to drill some holes in the bottom of the pumpkin feeder to allow for water drainage.
Bring Them to One of Our New Jersey Farm Pumpkin Smash Events for Composting
Mark your calendars, folks! We’re having two pumpkin smash events on Nov. 4 — one in Hoboken from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and one in Tenafly from 3-5 p.m. Bring your pumpkins for a smashing good time! You bring the pumpkins to smash; we’ll return the composted pumpkin scraps to you to nourish your garden. Just remember to not bring any pumpkins with paint or decorations, as those are not compostable. It’s a great way to use your pumpkins to give back to the earth.
All of these are easy ways to recycle your Halloween pumpkins without being wasteful. If you’d like to continue supporting our northern New Jersey composting efforts year-round, sign up for one of our composting plans!