Put your pumpkins to good use this Halloween

Residents in southern Oxfordshire are being encouraged to make the most of their pumpkins this Halloween.

If they cannot be used for cooking or composting, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council is asking people to recycle their pumpkins as food waste.

Householders can either cut them up and put them in their food waste bins or simply leave them out whole next to their bins on the usual weekly collection day.

With the average pumpkin weighing 5kg, around 115 tonnes of pumpkins could be recycled if one in five southern Oxfordshire recycled theirs – equivalent in weight to eight large empty bin lorries.  

Councillor Charlotte Dickson, Cabinet Member for waste and recycling at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re obviously encouraging residents to use up their pumpkins if they can, either in the kitchen or in their own household composter. But if they’d prefer the option is there to recycle them simply by leaving them out with their bins or by putting them inside their food waste bin – it’s very easy to do, so we hope people will make the most of the service and ensure their pumpkins are put to good use.”

Councillor Tony Harbour, Cabinet Member for waste and recycling at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Using their food waste bins, residents can recycle all cooked and uncooked food waste meaning that nothing needs to go to waste. Every pumpkin collected will be taken to our food waste processing plant to be turned into electricity and nutrient-rich fertiliser, making sure they’re put to good use after the trick or treating is done.

“This is also a good opportunity to remind everyone that they can now use plastic bags, as well as compostable bags or newspaper, to line their food caddy or bin – or, of course, simply put their food waste straight in.”

Residents can find a whole host of leftover food recipes on the Love Food Hate Waste website.   

Pumpkin, prune and chocolate bars recipe

  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin, mashed  
  • 1 cup prunes
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  1. Tip the prunes into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you get everything else ready.
  2. Heat the oven to 180°C and line a small brownie pan (measuring about 27 x 20 cm) with baking paper, leaving some to overhang.
  3. Put the rolled oats into a food processor and whiz until finely ground. Tip out into another bowl.
  4. Drain the prunes, then tip them into the processor, along with the pumpkin, melted butter and egg. Whiz until smooth, then add the ground oats, cinnamon, vanilla essence, salt and baking soda and whiz again until well mixed.
  5. Add the chocolate and pulse until mixed. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and slightly springy to touch. Let cool, then cut into bars.