On the 24th October the BBC Breakfast programme reported on how we’ve become very wasteful when it comes to Halloween. Unlike Christmas where we store and reuse our decorations, as a nation we are throwing away our Halloween creations. This includes pumpkins!
It baffles me that you wouldn’t reuse the wonders that lurk inside these big orange vegetables, but more often than not they are just destined to hold a tea light for one night of the year. Over £2m of pumpkins will be purchased in the UK in preparation for Halloween on 31st October. That’s an awful lot of potential food… so here’s four creative ways to put your pumpkin innards to good use.
1. Roasted pumpkin seeds snack
Believe it or not, the seeds you exhume and discard from your pumpkin are just a quick roast away from becoming a delicious snack – crunchy, flavoursome, and super tasty. They’re perfect for grazing, as well as tossing into salads, or sprinkling over soups and savoury bakes for added texture and seasoning.
- Using a large metal spoon, scrape the seeds from your pumpkin into a bowl.
- Clean the seeds getting rid of any fibres.
- Rinse in a bowl of water to ensure all slime had disappeared.
- If baking with them leave plain. for a snack – coat in olive oil and add sea salt, chilli flakes or whatever spices you’d like.
- Mix together to ensure all seeds are coated before spreading them evenly on a large baking tray.
- Bake at 180°C for around 10 minutes or until the seeds are lightly golden.
2. Pumpkin seed bread
One of my favourite things to eat from Bettys shops in Yorkshire is a fresh loaf of Pumpkin seed bread…. yum. So here’s BBC Good Food’s version of a seeded loaf.
- 400g of malted grain brown bread flour or wholemeal or granary bread flour
- 100g strong white bread flour
- 300ml hand warm water (not hot)
- 7g sachet easy-bake dried yeast (or 2 tsp Quick dried yeast)
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp soft butter
- 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds (once roasted – see above for method)
- Mix your choice of bread flour together along with the yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the room temperature butter by rubbing it into the flour. Stir in the roasted pumpkin seeds, saving some to sprinkle on top of the dough. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour 300ml warm (cool rather than hot) water. Mix until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.
- Put the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic, only adding the minimum of extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough sticking. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface, preferably not a cold surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave for 45 minutes to an hour until it’s doubled in size and feels light and springy.
- Knock back the dough by lightly kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles, so too much handling now will lose the dough’s lightness. Shape into a ball. Cover with the glass bowl and leave for another 15 minutes.
- Grease a 1.2-litre capacity loaf tin (about 23 x 13 x 5.5cm) and line the base with baking parchment. Using your knuckles, flatten the dough into a rectangle about 25 x 19cm. Fold both shorter ends into the centre like an envelope, make a ¼ turn, then flatten again into the same size and roll up very tightly, starting from one of the short ends. Roll the top of the dough with the leftover pumpkinseeds and place in the tin with the join underneath, pressing the seeds gently into the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for 40-45 mins, or until risen about 5cm above the top of the tin.
- Put a large roasting tin in the bottom of the oven 20 mins before ready to bake and heat oven to 220°C. Put the risen bread in the middle of the large roasting tin, carefully pour about 250ml cold water into the roasting tin (this will hiss and create a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 200°C. Bake for about 30 mins or until golden, covering with foil for the last 5 mins if starting to brown too quickly. Leave in the tin for 2-3 mins, then remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the baked loaf if should be firm and sound hollow.
3. Pumpkin Risotto
I love risotto, especially at this time of year and pumpkin risotto is no different. Taken from Sainsbury’s Magazine recipes here’s a delicious risotto to feed the whole family.
- 850g pumpkin
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, thyme or marjoram leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thickly sliced
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 litre fresh vegetable or chicken stock
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 medium red onion, very finely chopped
- 300g risotto rice (such as Arborio)
- 75ml extra dry white vermouth or white wine
- Parmesan or vegetarian alternative, freshly grated
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the seeds and fibres from the pumpkin, cutting the flesh (with skin) into large chunks. Place, skin-side down, on a baking tray. Season with sea salt and black pepper and scatter over the herbs and garlic. Pour over 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and rub into the flesh. Cover with foil and bake the pumpkin for 50 minutes or until it is soft and shrivelled and has begun to brown at the edges. Allow to cool enough to handle. Scrape the flesh from the skin, then discard the skin.
- Meanwhile, heat the stock in a large pan, and keep on a low heat, covered. Melt 75g of the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Gently fry the onion until soft. Add the rice and stir until the grains become coated with butter. Pour in the vermouth and stir until it has been absorbed. Ladle two spoons of hot stock, or just enough to cover the rice, and simmer, stirring, until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid. Continue to add more stock as the previous addition is absorbed.
- After 20 minutes, nearly all the stock will have been absorbed by the rice; each grain will have a creamy coating, but will remain al dente. Add the remaining butter, in small pieces, along with the roasted pumpkin and Parmesan cheese, being careful not to over-stir. Serve immediately.
4. Spiced pumpkin muffins
I’ve made these umpteen times. I just love the flavour of these muffins and you’ll never have a dry bake when adding vegetables to a muffin mix. This recipe was taken from Delicious Magazine.
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 150ml soured cream
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 125g piece pumpkin, coarsely grated
- 75g walnut pieces, chopped
For the frosting
- 50g butter, softened
- 200g cream cheese
- 50g icing sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a bowl. Pour the oil into a jug and add the soured cream, sugar and eggs and beat with a fork until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then add the pumpkin and walnuts and stir well.
- Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until well risen and firm. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
- For the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese until softened and combined. Stir in the icing sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Spread over the tops of the cooled muffins.
- I’ll leave it up to you if you want to decorate!
If you attempted any one of these four ways to use your pumpkin innards I’d love to see them. Please tag me on instagram @theharrogategirl or leave me any comments or questions below.
You may also like my Five Ways to Fall In Love with Sprouts post – just in time for Christmas!