It’s the spookiest season of the year with Halloween preparations well underway for the end of the month. The supermarkets are full of pumpkins and butternut squash, and we know many of you like to go all out in your carvings and displays, but what do you do with your leftover pieces?
An uncut pumpkin can be stored for up to 3 months in dry, cool place and the seeds can be kept for planting your own in preparation for next years trick or treaters. Pumpkins have many benefits for example did you know they can be good for your hearing? They are loaded with potassium and can help lower blood pressure and protect against age-related hearing loss that can occur as our bodies potassium levels dip as we get older. Pumpkins are considered fruits and are related to cucumber, melons, and luffas. There are multiple ways you can use this tasty, spooky fruit. See a few of our favourites below.
- 175ml sunflower oil
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g coarsely grated pumpkin
- 100g sultanas
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 200g self-rising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the frosting
- 200g tub full-fat cream cheese
- 85g icing sugar
- Toasted chopped pecans to decorate (optional)
- Heat oven to 180c / 160c fan / gas 4.
- Line a 12-hole muffin try with paper cases
- Pour oil into large mixing bowl, add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
- Beat together and add your left-over pumpkin, sultanas, and orange zest.
- Stir in the cinnamon, flour, and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 paper cases. The mixture should be wet
- Bake for 25 mins until firm and springy to the touch.
- Tip: insert a skewer to the centre. If the skewer comes out clean, with no mixture, they are finished!
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and spread on top of the cooled muffins.
- Top with pecans or an alternative of your choice! Make it spooky.
- Tip: If the grated pumpkin is quite wet, then make sure squeeze as must of moisture out for best results.
Bacon & pumpkin pasta
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 140g bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 25g butter
- 500g/1lb 2oz pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and diced
- 20g pack fresh sage, finely shredded
- 400g pasta. Your choice, we went with Penne
- 25g freshly grated parmesan. And some extra to serve
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, bacon to a heated saucepan. Cook for a few mins.
- Add the remaining olive oil and onion and cook for 5 minuets until soft and bacon is crispy
- Stir in butter, pumpkin, and sage. Mix well and season.
- Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes. Don’t forget to occasionally stir until the pumpkin is soft but isn’t falling apart.
- In the meantime, when waiting for pumpkin to cook. Cook pasta to packet instructions.
- Once cooked, add pasta to pumpkin and bacon mixture and add parmesan and season.
- Serve in pasta bowls and don’t forget to add extra parmesan on top!
- Swap in mushrooms and add in baby spinach to make it veggie!
Butternut squash soup with chilli & crème fraiche
- 1 butternut squash, about 1kg, peeled and deseeded
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 850ml hot vegetable stock
- 4tbsp crème fraiche, plus more to make it look fancy when serving
- Heat the over to 200c / 180c fan / gas 6
- Chop the squash into large cubes and toss into a large roasting tin with 1tbsp of olive oil
- Roast for 30mins turning once until golden and soft
- Whist that cooks, melt butter with 1 tbsp of olive oil into a large saucepan. Add in onions, garlic, and three quarters of chillies
- Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15-20mins until soft
- Add the cooked squash to the saucepan. Add stock and crème fraiche and combine with a stick blender with super smooth.
- Gently reheat and season to taste.
- Serve the soup with a twirl of crème fraiche and a sprinkling of chilli