Food waste expert reveals how to keep your Halloween pumpkin fresh

I’m a food waste expert – here’s how to make the most of your pumpkin this Halloween with millions set to be thrown away

  • Phillip Quantrell, from InSinkErator, reveals some tips to prevent pumpkin waste
  • Read More: Pumpkins are larger than usual this year thanks to the wet summer

With Halloween fast approaching, households around the world will join in with the spooky celebrations by carving pumpkins into scary faces and placing them around their homes. 

However, at a time when food inflation is spiralling and people are conscious of preventing waste, an expert has revealed how best to ensure your pumpkin lasts for as long as possible.

It was predicted last year that, of the 40 million pumpkins bought in the UK, 22.2 million went to waste.

Food Waste Expert Phillip Quantrell, from InSinkErator, has offered some of his top tips to prevent waste by making sure your pumpkin stays fresher for longer. 

To try to combat pumpkin waste this Food Waste Expert Phillip Quantrell, from InSinkErator, has offered some of his top tips to prevent waste by making sure your pumpkin stays fresher for longer (stock image) 

When you buy your pumpkin, you want it to look its best on the 31st therefore you should wait to carve it to ensure it stays fresh.

He said: ‘No matter how excited you or the kids are to carve your spooky design, make sure that you keep it as an activity for 3-5 days before the 31st- this way you can be confident that your masterpiece will look perfect for the day.’

Here, Phillip shares some of his other top tips to keep your pumpkin looking fresh for as long as possible… 

1. Never leave your pumpkin in a warm room or in direct sunlight

Pumpkins should survive for between three and five days in normal circumstances after being carved. However, there are factors that will shorten this time frame, like heat and sunlight. 

If the UK happens to have a warm late October, try to keep your pumpkin in a shaded area if you’re displaying it outside. 

Alternatively, find a cool spot in your home (away from fires or radiators) to preserve its freshness.

2. Avoid using a kitchen knife

When carving a pumpkin, a kitchen knife sounds like the perfect utensil to use. 

However, according to Phillip, you’re best to invest in a proper pumpkin carving toolkit instead. 

Pumpkin carving tools are much less sharp and prone to causing injury and if you get a nick or a cut you’re much more likely to give up and throw your pumpkin away. 

3. Refrain from using real candles

Another consideration is the use of candles. Whilst this is a popular option for showcasing your masterpiece, the heat from the candle will speed up the rotting process. 

To avoid this, opt for an LED option to get the same effect.

4. Clean all the flesh out of the pumpkin 

It might be tempting to stop once you’ve carved out your design, however, leaving the seeds and excess flesh inside of your pumpkin will prevent it from lasting as long as it should. 

That’s because it can produce excess bacteria a lot quicker than the hard flesh and shell so that the rotting process will happen faster.

5. Don’t cut the top of your pumpkin

While many people cut the top of their pumpkin, you should in fact cut the bottom. 

Cutting a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin will not only make carving easier but it’ll make it last longer as moisture won’t be able to collect at the bottom of the pumpkin usually causing it to rot.

You’ll also avoid getting burnt when putting a candle inside. Rather than having to reach into the pumpkin to light it, you can place the candle where you want and put the pumpkin straight over it.

6. Don’t draw your design onto your pumpkin with a pen

When sketching your chosen design onto your pumpkin consider opting for a pencil rather than a pen. 

Pen marks may be hard to remove and can ruin the aesthetic of your pumpkin. Pencil on the other hand is extremely easy to rub away.

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