Did you carve a pumpkin for Hallowe’en on Monday? Or perhaps a butternut squash, as my friend Lily did in her own unique way? Perhaps you made a pie or soup with the innards. If you did, you might have found as I did a few years ago, that the pumpkins that we have in the UK are not generally culinary ones so perhaps your pie, like mine tasted mainly of weak watery gloop.
Hmmm. We’re not really set up so well here for making yummy baked things from pumpkins with ready canned pulp and spice mixes, neither is it in our culinary vernacular in the same way as it is elsewhere, abroad. Yes, there are tried and tested recipes, the canned pulp is to be found if you look hard enough, and yes, soup can be amazing (hint, use more butternut squash than actual pumpkin), but I have this year found that the best thing to eat by far is the pumpkin’s seeds, for roasting the seeds yourself makes an amazingly more-ish snack. Miles better than the shop bought ones, plus imagine the money you’re saving.
Giles and I carved a pumpkin this year not so much to celebrate Hallowe’en, as to illustrate a photography lighting tutorial (which you can read here, if you’re interested). After cutting a lid, my waste-not want-not head kicked in and I saved a large bowlful of seeds from going straight into the compost bin.
To roast them, first I set my oven to 220 degrees centigrade and popped in a baking tray.
After rinsing them in a sieve and picking out the last strands of pumpkin flesh, I put them into a bowl and added a good glug of olive oil and mixed them in. Carefully taking the tray out of the oven, I laid the seeds onto it, then ground some peppercorns and sea salt with seaweed over the top. A good load. (I have just realised that sea salt with seaweed sounds awfully fancy, but it is just a Bart’s Spices grinder from Morrison’s).
It took a bit of trial and error to figure out the right cooking time for the seeds to become well done, yet not burn. In the end it took about 30 minutes. I listened to them as much as looked, and took them out once they started popping (like corn). It might well be different in your oven, but do keep an ear out for the popping as soon after that point they began to catch on the edges.
The ones that we didn’t eat at Hallowe’en, while watching a spooky episode of Poirot on the telly, have been kept in a sealed container and they’re keeping their crispness nicely a couple of days on. The fate of the rest of the pumpkin was that the carved lantern (named Perry Comb-Over because of the straggly stalk) has been added to our compost bin, but not before the cut-out parts had been roasted and added to a butternut and bacon soup. Noms.
So, when you are in tesco, or your equivalent local costermongers doing your shopping later today and you spy a few tired, leftover pumpkins on sale for 50p each, you know what to do.
All images courtesy of and copyright to Giles Babbidge.