Every October thousands of pumpkins are sold to be displayed proudly on our doorsteps for Halloween, carved into ever more creative shapes and patterns. Every year we also see a rise in recipes which encourage us to save the sweet flesh and seeds from the bin, adding them to traditional pies and tarts or more experimental dishes. We set out with the best intentions to make one of these fantastic dishes, but often end up leaving the pumpkin sitting on the side until the last minute. The carving ends up taking longer than we thought, we don’t have a sharp enough knife, the mouth goes all wonky.. By the time this ordeal is over we’re ready to forget all about pumpkins for another year.
We’re here to say this year can be different! With a little preparation you can have a painless pumpkin experience, and have simple recipes ready to go that you can either have for dinner on Halloween night itself or at a later date.
If you’re looking for the simplest way to incorporate pumpkin into a meal, you can’t go wrong with roasting the flesh. If you’re not carving the skin then you can slice it up as it comes, cut out the stringy area with the seeds, and put it straight in the oven at 200c with a little oil drizzled over. You can then cut away the skin with ease once it’s been roasted.
If you’re saving the flesh after carving it, try to use a sharp implement for removal as it’ll be easier to create bigger and more uniform chunks.
To further enhance the flavour you can add a dusting of brown sugar, ground clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little sea salt. It’ll take around 18-20 minutes in the oven.
Soups and stews
These are a great option if you’re likely to be taking out a pumpkin’s innards without much precision. The flesh will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or up to eight months in the freezer, so you can save more time-consuming recipes for a less busy evening. You can then add your pumpkin to your favourite stew or curry recipes as you would butternut squash, as it will behave very similarly and add a fresh and sweet taste. Or you can make it the star of the show in a hearty pumpkin soup. This can be as simple as cooking off onions, garlic, and your choice of spices before adding the pumpkin and some stock, then leaving on the hob until everything is creamy and ready to go.
Not to be forgotten, pumpkin seeds are very easy to prepare as a snack or to sprinkle on top of your soups and stews. You can either roast them in the oven, or heat in a pan with a little oil until they pop, and they’re easy to jazz up with spices if you’d like to try something different. Either way - they are full of a surprising amount of nutrients for such a small snack.