Making food from ‘waste’

Filed in Blog by on January 18, 2010 3 Comments
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Pumpkin scones

Pumpkin scones

This zero waste business can really tie you up in knots.

Back in October, Little Miss Green went to her Wildlife Trust watch group, where they carved mini lanterns from pumpkins.

So inspired was our favourite Eco warrior that she decided she wanted to create a friend for her new lantern.

Now I hate carving pumpkins; I find them really hard to do and most of all I can’t bear the smell of the flesh.

They turn my stomach, to coin a phrase.

Being dutiful Mum that I am, we indeed carved a friendly lantern to keep the other one company.

“What are we going to do with all the insides?” LMG asked, looking at the chopping board with a mountain of flesh on it.

I responded that we would chuck it in the compost heap because none of us likes pumpkin.

In the past I have made soup, curry, roast chunks of it in olive oil and it’s all been left uneaten with curly lips upon sad faces.

I was just about to scrape it into the compost heap when I heard a million voices in my head. It was as if Kristen was standing right behind me, along with my War-Era Grandmother and a few thousand children in Africa.

In other words, my conscience got the better of me.

It was perfectly edible food I was about to throw away. It’s bad enough that I create genuine food waste for the compost heap, but to throw away something that is good to eat is surely a zero waste crime.


In my usual “I will not be beaten” style I put my creative head on. Making cards and painting no, but creativity in the kitchen is my domain.

“What did Julia make with the flesh?” I asked LMG (Julia being the leader of her Wildlife watch group)

Pumpkin scones came the answer.

Surely they couldn’t be too hard?

I decided to make a bit of a hybrid version of scones. In other words I added some sweetness to cover up the taste of the pumpkin!

Scones are generally a fairly bland, if not delicious affair which provide an introvert backdrop to the dazzling centre-stage layers of butter, jam and cream.

Here’s Mrs Green’s recipe for pumpkin scones and I’m pleased to say I had thumbs up and cries of more; even if they were covered with butter, jam and cream to hide the taste.You could use much more pumpkin if you enjoy the taste of it; fortunately I didn’t have too much to use LOL! And go ahead and substitute sugar for the sweeteners I have used.

Pumpkin scones – makes 8


* 1/2 cup stewed pumpkin / squash flesh
* 40 gm butter
* 220 gm self raising flour
* pinch salt
* 6 dates, finely chopped
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 2 tbsp agave syrup (you could use honey or sugar)
* 1 beaten egg


* Take the pumpkin / squash flesh, cut into tiny cubes and stew in a tiny amount of water until pureed – about 15 – 20 minutes
* Preheat oven to 200
* Meanwhile rub the butter into the flour and salt
* Add the chopped dates, cinnamon, agave syrup and egg – mix well until everything is incorporated
* Add the cooked pumpkin and mix well; you’ll get a soft dough.
* If the mix is too wet add more flour; if it’s too dry you can loosen it with a little milk
* Shape the dough into 8 scones and put on a greased baking tray
* Bake for 15 minutes until golden

What about you. What scary ingredient have you managed to make into something edible? I know John has been experimenting with tripe and has created a way of cooking it which is palatable to him. I’d love to hear about your culinary discoveries and experiences!

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (3)

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  1. Jane says:

    And all those seeds? What plans have you for them? Think I made soup with pumpkin last time but I’ve also grated marrow and not-so-fresh-started-to-to-bitter-courgette into cottage/shepherd’s pie which makes it go further and saves wasting it. (Mum’s was best when she’d added the left-over baked beans.) The scones sound great.

  2. Chris says:

    I’ve just found your blog and am finding it very helpful. It chimes in with the New Year resolution I made to throw less away.
    I’ve grated squash and pumpkin into indian dahl with no noticable change in taste. I have also grated small bits of swede into pasta sauce (!) and nobody was any the wiser, but then again I am a sneeky woman!


  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Hi Jane, oh we have no problems eating the seeds – we all like those! Left over beans added to shepherds pie sounds like a fab idea 🙂

    @Chris: Hi Chris – welcome! I’m glad you’re finding the site helpful and I’m really pleased to hear about your new years resolution. Your ideas sound great – grated squash into dahl sounds very innovative 🙂

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