Save The Pumpkin....
Halloween is fast approaching, as fun as it is, it produces a staggering amount of food waste and unnecessary throwaway plastic.
Not only is this contributing to the huge amount of yearly food waste, the pumpkins in landfill will decompose and produce methane gas. Methane gas is 84% more potent than CO2!
Here are some yummy recipes for you to use up that pumpkin! You can have a guilt free Halloween after all!
Pumpkin Soup (BBC Good Food)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1kg pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
150ml double cream
For the croutons
2 tbsp olive oil
4 slices wholemeal seeded bread, crusts removed
handful pumpkin seeds
STEP 1 Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
STEP 2 Add 1kg pumpkin, cut into chunks, to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
STEP 3 Pour 700ml vegetable or chicken stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft.
STEP 4 Pour 150ml double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
STEP 5 To make the croutons: cut 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread into small squares.
STEP 6 Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp.
STEP 7 Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
STEP 8 Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want.
Pumpkin Curry (Jamie Oliver)
1 pumpkin , or squash (roughly 900g)
4 cm piece of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
20 curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400 g tins of light coconut milk
2 x 400 g tins of chickpeas
Chop the pumpkin or squash into 3cm chunks and cut the ginger into matchsticks. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks.
Pour a good lug of groundnut oil into a large saucepan and place on a high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, red chilli and shallots, then reduce to a medium heat. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coriander stalks and fry until the curry leaves go crispy. Add the turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then add the pumpkin and chickpeas. Reduce to a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry.
When the time’s up, take the lid off and cook for a further 15 minutes or so until the sauce is lovely and thick.
Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice, naan bread and chutneys and dips on the side.
Pumpkin Puree (BBC Good Food)
STEP 1 To steam the pumpkin, peel and seed it, then cut into evenly sized cubes. Put the cubes in a steamer or colander set over a pan of simmering water and cook for 10 mins. Test with the point of a knife and cook for a further 5 mins if not cooked through. Mash and leave to cool. Alternatively, to microwave the pumpkin, cut it in half (no need to peel it or cut out the seeds) and sit cut-side up in the microwave. Cook for 20 mins, then check the flesh is soft by poking it with a fork. Keep cooking if you’d like it softer. Scoop the flesh into a bowl, then mash and leave to cool.
Pumpkin Cheesecake (BBC Good Food)
225g/8oz digestive biscuits
juice and zest 1 lemon
340g/12oz cooked pumpkin (steamed or roasted)
225g/8oz caster sugar
450g/1lb cream cheese
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2.5g/½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
90ml/3fl oz double cream
90ml/3fl oz natural yoghurt
Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
Bash the digestive biscuits into crumbs. Melt the butter over a low heat and mix in the biscuit crumbs and lemon zest. Lightly grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed cake tin and press the crumbs into the base and up the sides slightly.
Mix together the cream cheese, pumpkin flesh, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Beat the eggs and fold into the pumpkin mixture. Turn into the tin and bake in the oven for 90 minutes until the surface is set but the underneath still slightly squidgy.
Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool in the tin. When cool, turn it on to a serving plate, cover with foodwrap and chill overnight.
Whip the double cream until thick and fold in the yoghurt and the lemon juice. Spread over the top of the cheesecake and serve at room temperature.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Inspired Taste)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more for serving 2 teaspoons olive oil, melted coconut oil or nut oil like walnut 2 teaspoons your favourite spice blend such as curry powder, harissa and chilli powder
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 cups of water and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, scoop the seeds from your pumpkin. Add the pumpkin seeds to a bowl filled with cold water and swish them around until the seeds float and are mostly clean.
Add cleaned seeds to the boiling salted water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and pull away any remaining pumpkin attached to the seeds.
Scatter the seeds onto clean dishcloths and pat them very dry. Mound the dried seeds onto the prepared baking sheet. Add the oil and any spices on top then toss until well coated. Spread the seeds into one layer. Bake, stirring the seeds at least once, until fragrant and golden around the edges, 10 to 25 minutes, depending on how large the seeds are.
I plan to make the most out of my pumpkin this year, I couldn't resist a trip to the patch!