Autumn has well and truly arrived, and we are prepping for a green Halloween here at Teaspoon Club HQ! It all starts with a pumpkin, so we're covering them in our latest blog. We've got picking pumpkins, ideas for using them and cooking with them, and, most importantly, sustainable ways to dispose of them.

Picking the perfect pumpkin

It all starts with picking your pumpkin! With the heavy seasonal demand that piles on in October, many pumpkins are sprayed with heavy duty pesticides and shipped over long distances driving up their carbon footprint in order to reach the shops before Halloween. 

The best way to avoid this is buying your pumpkins locally (and ideally buying organic pumpkins!). Many local farm shops will have locally grown pumpkins, and pumpkin patches where you can pick your own make for a fun day out for everyone. There are some great guides to local pumpkin patches online, and with their rise in popularity you shouldn't have to travel too far to find one.

Using your pumpkins

There's a reasons pumpkins/ squashes are so popular for some autumnal decoration, and they do look really lovely. They are also packed full of flavour and can be used to make some incredible autumnal bakes and dishes. 

You can start with the seeds- if you're carving your pumpkin and scoping out the seeds, you can clean them and roast them for a delicious snack or salad topping. You can also add some spices for a kick to your pumpkin seeds!

If your pumpkin/ squash it still edible (and hasn't been carved or left outside), there are some amazing recipes you can use the flesh for. You can roast your pumpkins, scoop out the flesh, and start recipe exploring. You can also freeze the flesh in batches to make pumpkin recipes throughout the Winter! Here's a round up of some of our favourite pumpkin recipes.

Sweet: If you're looking for sweet recipes, you can make pumpkin bread (move over banana bread!), pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin pie. 

Savoury: The pumpkin doesn't only offer sweet flavours! We're a big fan of Gordon Ramsay's risotto, plus we've rounded up a great pumpkin ravioli pumpkin soup, and some Great British Chef pumpkin recipes.

Disposing of your pumpkin

If your pumpkin's been a beautiful jack-o-lantern outside for a week or two, you may be looking for a way to dispose of it (and it's probably not looking very edible!). Try to avoid putting it into the main bin- many pumpkins end up in landfill where they will decompose methane. About 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are thrown away each year, so it's a big problem on our hands!

Composting your pumpkins is a much better way to dispose of them. If you or your neighbours don't have compost, check with your local council if they have a centralised composting scheme. 

A greener Halloween

We know Halloween doesn't start and end with pumpkins, so check out WWF's top 10 green Halloween tips, and The Guardian's guide here, to turn your Halloween a bit greener.

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