People around the World are starving – don’t waste good pumpkin

Apologies to my regular followers who may be expecting some learning related wisdom, but this topic means a lot to me, so I thought I would blog about it.

I Award-winning jack o' lanternhate it when food is wasted, knowing that around the World there are millions of people that are starving and in countries like the UK at this time of year, we buy huge great pumpkins just so that we can carve them into lanterns and most people then throw away the edible part of this wonderful fruit. What is an even bigger crime is when cooked pumpkin turns into this wonderful flavoursome ingredient.

For anyone that has never cooked with pumpkin, here is how you remove the flesh: Cut off the top off the pumpkin, then remove the seeds and pips with a large spoon. You will then be left with the walls of the pumpkin and the skin which in total is probably about 1-1.5 inches thick. If you then scrape around the inside of the pumpkin using a solid metal spoon (personally I have a metal ladle which works well) you can remove the useful flesh. It takes a bit of time, but once done you should have a big bowl full of flesh, and then be left with the pumpkin skin which can be carved as normal.

My favourite recipes with the pumpkin flesh are then as follows:

Pumpkin pie
This is really delicious, if you have never had it before, then you must try it once. Personally I buy a pre-made pastry case, as is easier. When I make up the puree, I make more than I need and freeze a couple of batches for later in the year.

Pumpkin cake
It may sound daft to make a cake with pumpkin, but then the same can be said for carrot cake, and the texture of pumpkin cake is very similar. It is a wonderful moist cake that is very moorish. The kids love making this as cake, and I have found there is no need to put icing on top, as great as it is.

Creamy pumpkin soup
This is a classic creamy soup, very quick and easy to make and I have frozen a few batches in the past.

Pumpkin soup with ginger and chilli
If you like a bit of spice in your food (as I do) then this is an excellent soup, especially on a damp, dark autumn day.

Pumpkin makes great chutney, as easy to cook, it doesn’t have a strong internal flavour so very easy to add your own spices and can be mixed with whatever else is available at the time – I often have apples from my mum’s garden at this time of year, or I call my the market just as they are closing and buy a bag of whatever they haven’t sold for a few pence. If you make the chutney now, then it will be just about mature in time for Christmas to have with cheese and biscuits and a glass of red port.

I like cooking with pumpkin so much that I usually buy more pumpkins than I want to carve, and if supermarkets have any left after halloween and are selling them cheap then I buy them up.

So – in the coming weeks, as you attack your pumpkin to make a lantern, please don’t waste this wonderful food. I know that my making cakes, soups and pies won’t help the millions of people out there that are starving, but I find it really disrespectful to have a readily available access to food, and then throw it away.