What to do with your leftover pumpkin decorations
At this time of year, pumpkins are everywhere, and your favourite public market is no exception! But this seasonal decoration is often thrown away after Halloween, making them one of the most wasted foods in autumn. So why not get into the habit of eating 100% of the pumpkins you buy (except for the stalk)? Here are a few ideas for cooking your pumpkins and stocking up for the year!
Traditionally, on the evening of 31 October, you empty the pumpkin, pierce it and place a candle inside. However, this will probably prevent you from cooking the pumpkin afterwards. There are several ways to decorate a pumpkin without putting holes in it, simply by sticking accessories on it. You’ll find inspiration on DIY and decorating websites like Pinterest. It’s also a great opportunity to decorate your pumpkin using the packaging that fills up your recycling bin – a small gesture that’s doubly zero-waste!
In my advice, oven-roasted pumpkin is the best way to cook it. And as an added bonus, you won’t need to remove the skin, which is very tasty and will fit in perfectly with your recipes. You need to clean the pumpkin before cutting it in half. The seeds can of course be removed, seasoned and roasted. Dare to use mixtures from the spice jars you have on hand, both sweet and savoury. What’s more, the filaments that hold the seeds in place can be grilled with the rest of the flesh. On this subject, I practise the lazy method: I pre-season each pumpkin half so that it’s ready to use. On the one hand, I use sweet and spicy ingredients reminiscent of pumpkin pie (fat, sweetener, spices – to taste) and on the other, I add a savoury seasoning ranging from curry to fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage) depending on what I fancy at the time (fat, salt or tamari, herbs and spices – to taste). I put the whole thing in a pre-heated oven at 200C (400F) until the meat is tender and ready to cook.The advantage of this method of cooking is that I can easily freeze the surplus, which will be ready to use in a future recipe.
I also sometimes mash everything up and freeze it in silicone muffin tins to make ready-to-thaw ‘slices’. So if I’m planning to cook a recipe that calls for 500 ml (1 cup) of purée, all I have to do is defrost 2 or 3 slices, and that’s it! Thanks to these slices, I’m eating pumpkin a lot more often, adding it to smoothies, soups, sauces, hummus, muffins, whipped cream and so on.
Finally, there are several varieties of pumpkin that can be cooked in different ways. Ask your merchant about the best varieties for your needs. They’ll probably have a few bonus recipes to share with you!
Stored in a cool, dry place away from light, your pumpkin will keep for several days, or even a few months. So this year, I’m challenging you not to waste your Halloween pumpkin, but to enjoy it!
An article written by Florence-Léa Siry
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