Carving pumpkins has become something of an annual tradition to mark 31 October, with people lighting up their spooky creations on Halloween.
The activity is now so popular that the UK is expected to waste around 18,000 tonnes of perfectly edible pumpkin this Halloween – but the leftovers can be put to good use.
Reducing pumpkin waste
Instead of throwing out your pumpkin innards once you have finished carving, there are a number of ways you can use your leftovers to help reduce the amount of waste.
Here are some tasty ideas to try if you’re looking for inspiration:
Make pumpkin seed brownies
John Quigley of Red Onion in Glasgow gave this delicious recipe to Zero Waste Scotland.
• 140g dark chocolate, minimum 55% cocoa, chopped into small pieces
• 120g unsalted butter
• 100g plain flour
• 5 eggs
• ½ vanilla pod, seeds only
• 255g soft brown sugar
• 15g pumpkin seeds, rinsed and left to dry
Toast the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray for 3-4 minutes at 200˚C/gas mark 6, set aside to cool.
Place the butter and half of the dark chocolate in a bowl and melt together using a bain-marie or microwave.
Mix the egg and vanilla together, then add the sugar. Add to the melted butter and chocolate.
Sift in the flour and fold through gently until just combined.
Add the remaining chocolate pieces and mix well.
Pour into a lined, 20cm square baking tray and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
Reduce the oven down to 175˚C/gas mark 3 and bake the brownies for 25 minutes. If the middle is still wobbly, place back in the oven until just set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before turning out and cutting into squares.
Create a hearty autumnal themed meal
Top chef Neil Forbes gave us this delicious recipe for sausage, apple and pumpkin bake.
• Allow three sausages per person (I like a good old pork and herb banger)
• 2 medium-sized onions, roughly chopped
• a splash of cold-pressed rapeseed oil
• salt and pepper
• ¼ pumpkin (or butternut squash), roughly chopped
• a few par-boiled potatoes (like a heritage Pink Fir Apple or Sharpe’s Express), cut into large chunks
• a knob of butter
• 1 clove garlic, sliced
• 1 very large cooking apple (James Grieve or Bramley are excellent), cored and roughly chopped
• a small handful of fennel fronds, roughly chopped
• a sprig of rosemary
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or oven-proof pan, and fry the onions and whole sausages. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the pumpkin to the pan. Keep stirring and moving the dish around to get colour on all the ingredients. Then add the potatoes, butter, garlic and apples.
Make sure everything is starting to colour nicely before placing in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at 200C/Gas Mark 6 to cook further and brown.
Remove from the oven, add the fennel fronds and stir. Serve at the table in the dish you cooked it in – no time for pretty presentation here.
Warm up with pumpkin soup
Chef Tom Kitchin suggests this wonderful recipe for roasted pumpkin soup.
For the stock
• Trimmings and skin from the pumpkin
• 700ml chicken stock
• 1 large onion, peeled
• 1 bunch parsley stalks
• 3-4 sprigs of thyme
• 1 cinnamon stick head of garlic
• 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
• 2 carrots, roughly chopped salt and pepper
For the soup
• pumpkin, peeled and cut into 6 equal wedges
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp caraway seeds
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp clear honey
• 60ml cream salt and pepper
To make the stock, put all the pumpkin skin and trimmings into a large pot and cover with chicken stock. Keep the pumpkin seeds back for roasting.
Add the rest of the stock ingredients and simmer slowly for at least one hour.
Leave to rest for 20 minutes and then strain through a sieve.
To make the soup
Divide the pumpkin wedges into two batches. One batch is for roasting and the other for sweating on top of the stove.
Chop the wedges for sweating into 5cm cubes and set aside. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium heat.
Add the onion, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a good pinch of salt, then sweat gently until the onion is very soft.
Add the cubes of pumpkin and cook gently until soft. Add enough stock to cover and leave to simmer.
Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and add the butter. When it begins to foam, put in the large pumpkin wedges, salt and pepper. Allow the pumpkin to colour on both sides (this is important for flavour) and then sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds.
Continue to cook, turning occasionally to ensure that they are an even colour. After about 5 minutes, add the honey and put the pumpkin into the oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and roast for six to eight minutes until it is dark golden brown.
Add the roasted pumpkin to the pot of simmering pumpkin and mix together well, adding more stock if necessary.
Leave to cook until the pumpkin is very soft and tender, then add the cream. Check the seasoning and take off heat.
Leave to rest for ten minutes before transferring it to a blender and blitzing until smooth. The key to a great soup is a good stock.
Take inspiration from Harry Potter
Edinburgh chef Mark Greenaway has created this intriguing sweet and savoury recipe after being inspired by Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling.
(Makes two pasties)
• 125g puff pastry
• 1 chicken leg, roasted, meat picked
• 3 new potatoes, diced and boiled
• 1 carrot, diced and boiled
• 400g roasted pumpkin
• 100g caster sugar
• seeds of 1 vanilla pod
• 100ml double cream
• 1 beaten egg
Combine the chicken, potato and carrots in a bowl.
Blend the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and cream, then pass this mixture through a fine sieve and chill in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Roll the pastry and cut out two circles roughly 20cm in diameter.
Place the chicken mixture on one half of each pastry circle, then place the sweet pumpkin mixture on the other half. Fold each circle over to create a pasty shape using egg wash on the edges to seal it.
Crimp the top with your fingers and brush with egg wash all over. Bake for 25 minutes.