I read with some horror in this week’s Independent that in the UK we will throw away 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin flesh this week (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/save-our-pumpkins-uk-wastes-18000-tons-of-food-while-carving-halloween-jack-olanterns-9820896.html) while carving out Jack O Lanterns. I eyed the one sitting on the kitchen table with suspicion and dread and the stirring feeling of a mission bubbling away in my little brain…
So this morning, after the obligatory pumpkin-scooping-out session, I set about putting the extremely large bowl of pumpkin flesh to work. I have a few ideas for it over the coming days, so first, I’ve knocked it into a large amount of pumpkin puree, to keep in the fridge and freezer, and will blog the recipes as I go along over the next few days. Ideas so far include a Kerala pumpkin curry, a spiced pumpkin and lentil soup, and a sweet pumpkin and almond pasta sauce, not to mention this week’s Guardian recipe, my pumpkin and sultana scones: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/29/jack-monroe-pumpkin-sultana-scones-recipe” title …and possibly some teeny tiny jam-tart-sized sweet pumpkin tarts, too…
So, until I’ve had a proper creative flail, and in the spirit of saving some of those tonnes of pumpkin flesh from being consigned to the bin, here’s a quick ‘how to make pumpkin puree’ – and fling it in the fridge or freezer, and I’ll throw some recipes at you in due course. Or if you don’t want to wait for me, the the BBC Good Food and Guardian websites have some great recipes right here:
So easy it’s hardly a recipe at all! Separate the pumpkin flesh from the seeds, and pop the seeds to one side. (I’m washing mine and donating them to the kids art box for them to paint and stick onto things, firstly because we are awash with regular pumpkin seeds in this house, and secondly because they are monstrously huge so I’m not sure what I’d use them in…)
Put the scooped out flesh into a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes or until the flesh is all translucent and tender. Drain and mash with a masher or blend in a blender, and allow to cool. Transfer into jars, freezer bags, plastic containers or ice cube trays, or a mixture of whatever you have, and pop into the fridge (for 3 days) or freezer (for 6 months).
Happy Halloween, and please, save our pumpkins.
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack