Halloween is fast approaching and with that, pumpkin sales are believed to reach a staggering 24 million in the UK over the scary season. However, the part of Halloween that gives us the biggest fright is reserved for how many of them go to waste.
Research carried out by the food charity Hubbub found that over half of those will be thrown away, that’s a scream inducing 12.6 million pumpkins that could have been eaten!
Their research also found that 59% of people didn’t know their ‘carving’ pumpkins were edible, and over 3 million of these pumpkins are expected to find their way into general waste. These scary statistics have more lasting damage than a vampire’s bite by contributing to the UK’s total food waste, which accounts for 3% of country’s carbon emissions.
So, we want to inform people that pumpkins are not just good to carve and put in your window, but that they are also good for you, and be made into some super tasty recipes.
When cooked, the whole of the pumpkin is actually edible, this includes the skin, the pulp and the seeds. All that needs to be removed is the stringy bits that keep the seeds in – which can be placed in your food waste bin!
Let’s talk pumpkin nutrition.
Pumpkins are actually part of the squash family and they are a great source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A.
Beta-carotene is actually what gives pumpkins their colour, exactly the same as carrots! It also contains vitamins E and C, as well as some minerals including calcium and magnesium. It is a fantastic addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
Delicious Pumpkin Recipes Anyone?
- 2 tablespoons oil (I find rapeseed oil works well)
- 2 onions, chopped into small strips
- 1kg pumpkin (deseeded and peeled)
- 700ml chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 150ml double cream
- Salt and pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then cook the onions for 5 mins over a low heat, until soft but not browned.
2. Add the pumpkin, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
3. Pour the stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper (don’t add too much to start with, you can always add more after if you want more) Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft.
4. Pour the double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender.
Pumpkin soup freezes well – it can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Showing just how versatile it is as an ingredient!
- 300g self-raising flour
- 300g light brown sugar
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 140g sultanas or raisins
- 4 eggs
- 200g melted butter
- 500g grated pumpkin (deseeded and peeled)
For the Cake
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, sultanas (or raisins) and mixed spice into a bowl.
3. Beat the eggs into the melted butter.
4. Mix the egg mixture in with the dry ingredients and add the pumpkin.
5. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and put the cake into the oven. Check after 30 minutes. Put a skewer in the cake, if it comes out clean then the cake is done. If not, check it every 5 minutes until the cake is done.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 200g Cream Cheese/Soft cheese (for a lower fat version use 150g Quark)
- 85g margarine
- 100g Icing sugar
- orange zest and 1 tsp juice
- Maybe some colouring too to make it more spooky!
- Beat all the ingredients together until smooth.
- When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting over the top.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Great healthy snack (and can go on top of the cake and the soup!!!)
1. Measure the pumpkin seeds with a cup measure.
2. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds.
3. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so.
5. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan.
6. Bake at the top shelf until the seeds begin to brown, which can take up to 20 minutes depending on size.