Honour the pumpkin

Pumpkin photo-shoot

18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin are thrown away every Halloween in the UK; that’s the equivalent of 1,500 double decker buses, according to the Independent.

Time to join the tweetathon using #pumpkinrescue hashtag.

The Ecologist reports on the #pumpkinrescue manifesto.

 

Here are a few points from the manifesto.

  1. All supermarkets to make publicly available the amount of food waste they create and detail what happens to it.
  2. All supermarkets to ensure safe and healthy surplus food is redistributed to those on low incomes.
  3. Government to increase their investment in the Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

I am pleased with my organic pumpkin’s potential as a lantern. It has a flat bottom so won’t roll around and it is fresh with a long stem making it easier to lift off the lid.

I am even more pleased with my pumpkin’s nutritional qualities: gentle, soluble fibre, immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, as well as carbohydrates, providing sustainable, slow-release (yet low-fat) energy.

(Above para from a book I co-wrote, Make More of Squashes).

I want to honour the pumpkin as food.

The easiest way to prepare a pumpkin is to bake it. That way you only need to slice it in two, and scoop out the innards (put the inner ligaments in the compost bin and and bake the seeds for 5 minutes in a hot oven with soya sauce, or fry them).

Here’s a great blog on how to bake a pumpkin in ten steps, including cutting tips.

If you are making a lantern, then there is no escape: you have to make the effort of scooping out the flesh. So  you might as well make the most of your hard work and not discard the goodness.

Use the pumpkin flesh in a soup with coconut milk/stock/water, and spices, or cubed in a stew.

What is your favourite pumpkin recipe?

Pan-fried pumpkin flesh atop a bed of curried coconut lentils

Pan-fried pumpkin flesh atop a bed of curried coconut lentils

 

Carved pumpkin lantern's photo shoot

 

7 responses to “Honour the pumpkin

  1. I don’t know about the manifesto– I don’t like the association that hunger can me met with waste, and stopping there. And why not ask more from the government than just supporting LFHW? I want food waste dealt with in its systems of efficiency, logisitics,economics and aesthetics, and hunger met by economic empowerment, higher wages, social safety net, all of it…. Nevertheless I too have been working away on the #pumpkinrescue theme… x

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  2. Hi, thanks for your comment, Annie, and love your tips on your blog for using pumpkin including

    – Soaking the seeds to remove the filaments
    – Fermented pumpkin juice as skin care.

    Yes, I agree: waste is not the solution to hunger, indeed.

    The solution to hunger is to get better at sharing. There is enough to go round!

    However, food waste is part of our profligate, unsharing, uncaring society and must be addressed to at least raise awareness of this lack of balance. And it has a practical purpose.

    Hence Fare Share, the organisation that rescues perfectly edible food chucked out by supermarkets and shares it with frontline (usually homeless) charities.

    Also The Skipchen pop-up restaurant in Bristol, and many other inspired initiatives.

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  3. Pumpkin pie is huge in the US. Basically, pumpkin is mixed with cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, cinnamon… and popped inside a pie crust. and baked for 50 minutes. You can serve with whipped cream on top! But now I am on strict diet for good digestion, will do without the cream and the pie crust. Funnily, enough I don’t find wheat and diary appetizing any more, luckily.

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    • Hi Philippa

      Yes, it looks as if the UK has caught on to the North American Halloween lantern tradition but not the pumpkin pie one. (Probably because the UK adoption is recent, and during its junk food era, whereas pumpkin pies in the States have a longer tradition.).

      According to the Independent, “while US pumpkin buyers enjoy turning their fruit into a tasty dish, their UK counterparts have been far more reluctant to cook the scooped-out insides, with only a third choosing to do so, according to research from the Pumpkin Rescue campaign.”

      Also…what about non-wheat and non-dairy version of pumpkin pie? I would bin the crust and use canned coconut instead of milk. There are quite a few recipes on the web. Here’s an example of friendly (non-wheat and dairy) pumpkin pie.

      Happy Halloween!

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  4. Pumpkin soups with gruyère is brilliant. Roast the pumpkin pieces in a 200c oven, cool and scoop out the flesh and mash it. Sweat a chopped onion in butter add some thyme. Add pumpkin mash, 1 litre veg stock cover and simmer for 20mins. Allow to cool, test seasoning and add more thyme leaves. Liquidise. Warm it up, add single cream and serve. Sprinkle with cheese.

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    • Hi Paul

      Wow, this sounds sumptuous!

      (Despite my dietary needs for non-diary, I LOVE all things, cheese and creamy!).

      Dreamy!

      Scooping the flesh-out AFTER baking the pumpkin with its skin on is certainly an easier operation, too. (Easier than when pumpkin is whole and raw, and one is trying to preserve the skin for lantern-carving!).

      Thanks for commenting, Elisabeth

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  5. Wow, amazing recipe, Profile Communications. I forgot to add that pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving treat, not a Halloween one. And yes, dairy and wheat substitutes are good. I like coconut flour. Cheese and yoghurt and I suppose sour cream, are actually a form of fermented dairy…which goes down to the otherwise dairy-averse tummy, very well in my case!

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