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VIDEO: Abertay food experts show how to make pumpkin ice cream as Halloween nears

Food innovation experts at Abertay University have invented a reduced-sugar pumpkin ice cream in an effort to tackle the tonnes of Halloween waste created each year.

It is hoped the sweet treat will inspire people to make the most of their pumpkins, as the majority of perfectly edible squashes purchased for the night will not be eaten.

According to a study by the #PumpkinRescue campaign, around eight million will be binned in the UK this year immediately after Thursday’s festivities.

Statistics suggest Halloween waste generally is much higher as up to 18 tonnes of waste will be thrown away, including pumpkins, costumes and plastics.

Scientists from Abertay’s Food Division have developed a new frozen treat to limit food waste and encourage consumers to use the pumpkin flesh in recipes instead.

4th year Food & Consumer Science students Aileen McColm and Megan Burns making the pumpkin ice cream at Abertay University.

The treat contains just 2% sugar, compared to regular ice cream which contains approximately 20% sugar.

A natural sweetener known as Erythritol, was used in place of sugar  but the ice cream still tastes just as sweet – as it is given its distinct flavour by adding spices such as cinnamon and turmeric.

The pumpkin flesh, rich in vitamin A, is used as a sugar replacement, helping reduce the content by around 40%.

Aileen McColm and Megan Burns, fourth year Food and Consumer Science students at Abertay University said the recipe was a surprise when presented to them but every part of the fruit is used in the recipe, which Megan said was a measure of which they were proud.

The finished article, the pumpkin ice cream.
4th year Food & Consumer Science students Aileen McColm and Megan Burns.

Lecturer Dr Jon Wilkin, said: “Millions of people will buy pumpkins this Halloween and many will bin the flesh inside rather than use it in recipes.

“We’ve used every edible part of the pumpkin to create this ice cream, including the seeds, which we’ve roasted and used as a chopped nut substitute.

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“While this is perhaps more on the unusual side there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your Halloween pumpkin, for example soup or risotto.

“We’re looking to highlight that there are simple and sometimes creative ways to reduce food waste in general.

“Waste reduction is an issue that is important at both national and international level, and it’s a key area of research here at Abertay.”

Taste test

As I had never tried pumpkin before, I was apprehensive about the ice cream, writes Rebecca McCurdy.

I was concerned it would be too sweet for my liking, as every part of the pumpkin was used in the recipe.

But these fears were quashed as it was very pleasant and understated in taste. I was surprised the ice cream only contained 2% sugar, which is an added bonus.

The ice cream was rich in flavour with the addition of cinnamon and turmeric, which created a pumpkin spiced element as a welcomed aftertaste.

Roasted pumpkin seeds were sprinkled over the top to give the ice cream a crunchy texture which is perfect for an autumnal dessert.

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