Last year, there was a poor pumpkin crop, due to a combination of bad weather and overly centralized production of pumpkins for canning. For a while, even Wegman’s did not carry pumpkin pie filling. They just plain ran out. This unfortunate fact caused much consternation among my pie baking daughters.
Meanwhile, huge numbers of pumpkins were wasted on Halloween. How many? Well, let’s all be math nerds for a while and make an estimate.
There are about 300 million Americans. Let’s assume that there are about 3 Americans per household, so there are about 100 million households in the USA. Then assume that each household carves one 10-pound Halloween pumpkin.
THAT IS 1 BILLION (1,000,000,000) POUNDS OF PUMPKIN!
Yeah, I know that part of the pumpkin is the guts, which get thrown out, but I am using very round numbers. But I checked here, and discovered that the 10 largest pumpkin producing states produce about 1 billion pounds of pumpkins annually. So my number is not too crazy.
That is enough pumpkins to feed a small African country for a year. In fact, that would be 500 pounds of pumpkin for every Botswanan. They like their pumpkins over there, but if they ate that much pumpkin, the beta carotene would give even them an orange tint. Or, if we gave those pumpkins to Americans, that would be about 5 extra pumpkin pies per person.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of hungry people, or people who could use a little relief in the wallet.
So, here is a modest proposal. DON’T DESTROY YOUR HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN, EAT IT!!!
There are non-destructive ways of decorating a pumpkin. Here is a link with some of them. There is no limit to what you can do once you are freed from the tyranny of the carving knife. You could even use another variety of winter squash. For example, a Green Hubbard would make an excellent Jabba the Hut. Just use non-toxic materials, please.
Then, you can save the pumpkin. It helps if you picked the right type to begin with: smaller pumpkins are best for pies, and as they get larger they are less good. Instead of buying pumpkin pie filling, make your own using a recipe like this one. Yes, this takes some work, but you will be saving money and striking a blow against “Big Agriculture” at the same time. Big Agriculture, in its infinite wisdom, decided that 95% of the canning pumpkins would be grown in Illinois. They deserve to lose some of your business.