Pumpkin Carving: A Waste Worth Saving

As Halloween nears, thousands of Pumpkins are sought by people to use for decorative measures. We carve and paint, we decorate. What we forget is the importance of sustainability. As Halloween ends, these pumpkins will be dumped in landfills, never to be seen again. It’s quite disappointing. As my Dad says, unless you’re going to make do of the pumpkin for other measures, carve a turnip.. at least it’ll be eaten! Below I’ve listed a couple of ways to utilise your pumpkin when you’ve finished using it, rather than dumping it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are commonly eaten as a snack, or used to add flavour to granola or yoghurt, or sometimes with brown bread. Instead of purchasing an overpriced bag of pumpkin seeds this year, why not make use of the pumpkin seeds at the bottom of your pumpkin? It’ll save you money, and will provide you with triple the amount you’d pay for!

Roasting pumpkins is simple.

– Using a sharp tool, scrape any excess pumpkin off your seeds and lay them in a bowl, ready to wash.

– After you’ve collected your seeds, give them a good hand wash over the sink, before draining them with a sieve.

– Lay your seeds on a baking tray with aluminium foil. Drip 2 spoons of melted butter across the baking tray. If you wish to add flavour, sprinkle some salt and pepper over the seeds.

– Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees and leave the seeds to cook for 30-45 minutes. Every batch of seeds are different, so keep a continuous eye on these. The thinner the seed the quicker it can burn. Return to your oven every 10/15 minutes to give them a turnover.

– When your seeds are roasted and cool, pop them into an airtight container and leave in a cool dry place, perfect for use whenever you need a healthy snack!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

A lovely treat worth making as Halloween approaches, are Pumpkin spiced cupcakes. Not only are they a delicious treat for children on Halloween night, but they will encourage you to make use of excess pumpkin!

Ingredients:

– Pumpkin spice mix: this is made up of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg. You’ll need a full tablespoon of this mix.

– 140g plain flour

– 100g caster sugar

– 1 medium to large egg

– A pinch of Salt

– 90ml of Milk

– 50g of Butter

– 2 and a half tbsp of brown sugar

– Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

– 125g of excess Pumpkin (purée)

Make sure to to blend your pumpkin mixture before adding it to your cupcake mix.

Frosting mix:

– 125g Cream cheese

– 50g of Butter

– 125g of icing sugar

– 2 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend all of your frosting ingredients together and leave in the fridge to harden. The best idea is to leave these in icing bags, ready to use.

Then, prepare your cupcake mix. Put these into cupcake cases (it should make 12), and fill them the halfway mark.

Leave these in the oven for 25 minutes (pre heated at 170 degrees).

When your cupcakes are cooked, leave them to cool for about a half an hour. Using your frosting pipe bags, frost your cakes in icing, in whatever decoration you like. Add additional treats on top if you wish to create a sweet look!

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

– 750g of Pumpkin, (cut into pieces and blended smoothly) Make sure to de- seed your pumpkin correctly!
– 350g shortcrust pastry
– plain flour (for dusting)
– 140g caster sugar
– Half a tsp of salt
– Half a tsp of fresh nutmeg, grated
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 2 eggs, beaten beforehand
– 25g butter, melted down or softened
– 175ml milk
– 1 tbsp icing sugar
How to:
Boil your pumpkin pieces for about 15 minutes until soft and tender. Leave to cool.
Lightly flour your surface and roll out your pastry. Then leave your pastry into a flat pastry tin.
In a totally different bowl, mix your excess ingredients together, slowly adding your pumpkin purée. Once these are mixed into a smooth looking mix, add this into the centre of your tartlet.
Pre heat your oven at 220 degrees, and leave the pie to cook for 10 minutes. Reduce your heat to 180 degrees and return cooking your pie for another 35 minutes! This will allow the centre to set into a spongy texture.
After it’s finished baking, leave to cool before dusting with excess icing sugar and ground cinnamon!
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I hope these recipes entice you to pop into the kitchen to bake up some homely Halloween goods. Whether or not you’re hosting a Halloween party or simply want to hand out handmade treats to Trick or Treaters, these recipes work up a treat and will save your pumpkin before it’s thrown into the bin!
Happy Halloween baking!