When you think of Halloween, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are, it's a pumpkin carved into a grinning Jack-o'-Lantern. But did you know that there's more to pumpkins than spooky faces and flickering candles? In our ongoing Green Halloween series, we're turning the spotlight on pumpkins and their delicious potential, all while reducing food waste.
The Pumpkin Paradox
Halloween and pumpkins go hand in hand, but here's the paradox: each year in the UK, 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin ends up in the bin after carving. That's as heavy as 1,500 double-decker buses! This shocking waste of perfectly good food is both an environmental concern and a culinary tragedy.
But fear not, because this Halloween, we're transforming the pumpkin paradox into a zero-waste culinary adventure. Say goodbye to food waste and hello to pumpkin pizzazz!
Scarily Delicious Pumpkin Recipes
1. Pumpkin Puree: after you've carved your Jack-o'-Lantern, don't let the pumpkin flesh go to waste. Here's how to make pumpkin puree:
Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and remove any seeds and strings.
Cut the flesh into chunks and steam or boil until tender.
Use a blender or food processor to puree the cooked pumpkin until smooth.
You can add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg for extra flavour .
Usage: Pumpkin puree can be used as a base for soups, sauces, or even desserts like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.
2. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: don't discard those pumpkin seeds – turn them into a crunchy snack:
Rinse the seeds to remove any pumpkin residue.
Toss them in olive oil and your choice of seasonings (salt, paprika, cayenne, etc.).
Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Roast in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for about 45 minutes or until they're crispy and golden.
Usage: Roasted pumpkin seeds make a fantastic snack or can be sprinkled on salads, soups, or oatmeal for added crunch.
3. Pumpkin Risotto: make a creamy and comforting pumpkin risotto:
Dice pumpkin flesh into small pieces.
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
Add Arborio rice and cook for a minute.
Add diced pumpkin and gradually add vegetable broth, stirring until the rice is creamy and the pumpkin is tender.
Season with salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Usage: This rich and creamy pumpkin risotto makes for a satisfying main course or side dish at your Halloween dinner.
DIY Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin spice is a quintessential flavour associated with fall and Halloween. It's a blend of warm and aromatic spices that pair beautifully with pumpkin-based dishes. Here's how to make your own DIY pumpkin spice blend:
Pumpkin Spice Ingredients:
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cloves
Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon forms the base of your pumpkin spice blend. It offers a sweet and warming flavour that complements the earthy notes of pumpkin.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg adds a slightly nutty and spicy element to the blend. Use freshly grated nutmeg if possible for the best flavour .
Allspice: Allspice is aptly named because it has flavours reminiscent of several spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It adds complexity to the blend.
Cloves: Ground cloves provide a rich and pungent flavour . A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly.
Mixing Your Pumpkin Spice:
In a small bowl, combine the measured amounts of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
Stir the spices together until well combined. Ensure there are no clumps, and the blend is uniform.
Transfer your homemade pumpkin spice mix to an airtight container, such as a small glass jar or spice shaker.
Usage: your DIY pumpkin spice blend is now ready to infuse a delightful autumn flavour into your recipes. Here are some ideas for using it:
Pumpkin Pie: Use your pumpkin spice blend in your pumpkin pie filling for a traditional autumn dessert.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Sprinkle a pinch of pumpkin spice on top of your homemade or store-bought pumpkin spice latte for an extra burst of flavour.
Pumpkin Muffins: Add a teaspoon or two to your muffin batter for irresistible pumpkin spice muffins.
Oatmeal: Stir pumpkin spice into your morning oatmeal for a cozy and fragrant start to the day.
Pancakes and Waffles: Incorporate pumpkin spice into your pancake or waffle batter for a fall-inspired breakfast.
Smoothies: Enhance your pumpkin smoothies or shakes with a dash of pumpkin spice.
Roasted Vegetables: Sprinkle a bit of pumpkin spice on roasted sweet potatoes or carrots for a unique twist on savory dishes.
Share the Pumpkin Love
This Halloween, let's change the narrative surrounding pumpkins. They're not just spooky decorations; they're a source of culinary delight waiting to be explored. By making the most of your pumpkin, you not only reduce food waste but also indulge in a delectable seasonal feast.
As we continue our Green Halloween series, stay tuned for more tips to make this Halloween the greenest and tastiest one yet!