Buying a pumpkin only to throw it away after it has served as a Halloween decoration is simply not going to happen in my house. I loathe food waste. It is just plain wrong to throw away good food when there are people starving. Though it has to be said, the quinces are severely testing my scruples.
I am glad to say I have dealt with my Halloween pumpkins.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
To roast the seeds from a pumpkin or squash simply wash them well and rub dry in a tea towel. Put them in a bowl with about a tablespoon of oil and some seasonings and mix well. Spread out on a baking tray. I have a reusable non-stick liner on my tray which makes life easier. Roast them at 160°c (140°c fan oven) for about 40 mins. Give them a stir around a couple of times while they are cooking.
I used chilli oil, smoked paprika and salt.
This morning I peeled my pumpkins. I cut some of it into chunks and put them into a saucepan with a little water. I simmered it until really soft. Then I puréed it.
I used half of this to make Pumpkin Muffins. I used my basic muffin recipe decreasing the milk to 3 fl oz and adding 8 fl oz of pumpkin purée to the wet ingredients. I also added a good teaspoon each of cinnamon and mixed spice. The pumpkin makes the muffins wonderfully moist. They freeze well.
I froze the rest of my purée for future muffins.
I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the moment while I cook (for about the fiftieth time) so my thoughts naturally turned to pumpkin pasties.
To make these I made a simple stew of pumpkin, beans and sweetcorn plus some spices. For this I employed two of my favourite freezer tricks : frozen vegetable hash and frozen cooked beans.
This is my vegetable hash.
It is celery, leek, carrot, garlic and lots and lots of onion. Sometimes red peppers go in too. I make this in huge quantities using the food processor to chop it all finely. I then freeze it in double-handful sized portions. When I need it for a soup, stew, curry or meat sauce -anything for which you'd fry an onion first- I defrost it for a couple of minutes in the microwave, drain it a little and add it to the hot oil or butter in my pan. This saves a great deal of time and enables me to get more veg into a meal.
Here are the frozen beans in the pumpkin pasty filling. These are borlotti beans. I always buy dried beans. I soak and cook a whole packet at a time. When they are cool I spread them on a baking tray and freeze. When they are hard I bag them up and put back in the freezer. Home cooked free-flow beans. I add them to things without defrosting first.
I added a sprinkle of cheese to the pumpkin filling.
These will go in lunchboxes this week (if they fit).
Pumpkin, Chickpea and Coconut Curry
This is for dinner tonight. Pumpkin, frozen chickpeas, coconut milk, veg hash, the remains of a jar of tikka paste and some frozen peas. We will have it with rice.
After all that I still had some pumpkin left. Into the freezer it goes. I will use it for soup.
This is also good recipe to use up pumpkin or squash.
Also be sure to visit the marvellous Wartime Housewife's A Pumpkin is for Life Not Just Halloween for how to make a three course dinner out of a Halloween pumpkin :o) I wish I'd thought of that title. WH is a woman after my own heart-read what she says about trick or treating :o).