Discover some inventive ways to make the most of out autumn’s most popular veg and minimise your food waste.

No-carve decorating

We love to reduce our food waste as much as possible, which is why we won’t be carving pumpkins this year. Instead, we’ll be painting them with black food colouring, which is safer and easier to do. Plus, you can create all kinds of patterns and designs. If you don’t have any black food colouring, you could use a marker – just make sure to peel and discard the skins that have marker ink on them.

Love your gourds

Other gourds are a great alternative, as they come in a huge variety of shapes and colours, and can be arranged in a beautiful autumnal display or painted. While it’s not recommended to eat all gourds, they can be easily composted for your garden, as long as you use food-safe paint.


The seeds in a butternut squash are best roasted with the rest of the squash, as they can be quite bitter. For any other pumpkins and squash, scoop out the seeds and put in a sieve. Rinse well to remove any strings and dry thoroughly. Toss in olive oil and seasoning on a baking tray and roast at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 10 mins. These make an excellent salsa, soup topping or addition to a gremolata. You can also freeze them and add to veggie stock later.

Carve-only varieties

Supermarkets are overflowing with these in October, and they are usually meant just for carving. But, there’s a lot of waste generated from them. If you’ve already purchased your Halloween pumpkin, decorate or carve it on the morning of the 31st so it’s not sat outside for too long. After, reach out to local farms, as they can be fed to pigs and goats.

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Eat the peel

While all pumpkin and squash skins are edible, some take too long to soften up when roasting or frying. If you’re making soup, you can leave the skins on and simmer chunks or slices of pumpkin until falling apart before blending well. We’d recommend peeling any thick-skinned ones. A good rule of thumb is: if it’s hard to cut, the skin is usually quite tough to eat.

Try this smoky sausage & squash traybake for an easy autumnal bake.

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