Over the last month, many of us have collected a fair few pumpkins. I’m no exception, in fact, I’ve probably been at the forefront of October’s pumpkin-mania. I’ve mentioned a few times that we don’t carve, them, though, and that has a specific reason: food waste frightens me. Both my undergraduate and my recent postgraduate dissertations focused on the global food system, and I’ve just read way to much about it to be able to comfortably hollow out a beautiful vegetable and then throw it away. I know a lot of people do it, and I know there are much worse contributors to food waste, but the thought just freaks me out a bit. So as a result, we don’t carve our pumpkins. I just use them whole to decorate. So what to do with pumpkins after Halloween has passed?
Work out what you’ve got
When you’re trying to think of what to do with pumpkins that you already have, the first thing you need to work out is what you’ve actually got. Lots of things that look like pumpkins aren’t actually pumpkins, especially if they’re very small. Those things are squash! The best thing to do with squash is to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and roast the halves at 200 degrees Celcius. Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and into the oven they go! Depending on size, the squash will be done in 15 – 35 minutes – it really varies. After 15 minutes, I start prodding mine with a fork every so often – when the squash flesh is soft, it’s ready to eat. Serve each half filled with chilli, curry, or anything else you’d usually be having for dinner that night!
What to do with pumpkins
When you’ve weeded out your squash and only have your big orange pumpkins left, make pumpkin puree. Trust me, it’s so versatile, can be frozen for months and it’s just so much more satisfying if you’ve made it yourself than if it comes out of a tin. It couldn’t be easier to make. As with the squash, cut your pumpkin in half (this can be quite a task, I know), and scoop out the seeds. You can totally make toasted pumpkin seeds with them and minimise your food waste even more. and roast it in the oven at 200 degrees Celcius. Once you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork, remove the pumpkin from the oven. Let it cool completely, then use a food processor or hand blender to puree it as smoothly as you possibly can. Usually, your puree will be ready to freeze or use from here. If I have an especially watery pumpkin, I like to simmer the puree on the stove for a little while to reduce it even further.
Now you know what to do with pumpkins, what do you do with the pumpkin puree? Chef Chloe’s books have some fantastic pumpkin recipes, including pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies and pumpkin cinnamon rolls! Oh She Glows has TONNES of pumpkin recipes, including pumpkin butter, smoothies and cake. And of course, you can never go wrong with a traditional pumpkin soup.
What are your favourite pumpkin recipes? Link them in the comments below!