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Pumpkins: more than just a spooky face!

Year after year, we adopt more customs from our transatlantic cousins, and Hallowe’en is probably the most significant. Carving ghoulish faces into this autumnal delicacy has become an annual tradition for many British families.

If you haven’t bought a pumpkin before, your reluctance may stem from being unsure on how to maximise your investment. Displaying your creativity in your living room window is really satisfying but there are so many ways to repurpose a pumpkin after the spooks return to their slumber.

We’ve got some great ideas for delicious food inspiration, beauty products and bringing new life to your garden. You can try several of these from just one large pumpkin!

NB many supermarkets sell non-edible pumpkins at halloween, just make sure yours is edible! 

Cinema snacks

Roasted pumpkin seeds are an amazing alternative to nuts and crisps for people who enjoy savoury snacks. They’re full of vitamins and minerals, with a fantastic superfood status which is why so many health gurus sprinkle them on their morning muesli. Pizza is the favourite junk food for lots of people, but you can get the exact same flavours from this healthy snack!

Once you’ve scooped out your seeds, clean them, boil them for ten minutes and allow to drain and dry on kitchen tiles, simply clean your seeds, boil for 10 minutes to soften, then drain and dry on a paper towel.

Toss with a little oil and coat them with one tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper and some garlic powder. Spread out on a foiled baking tray and cook at 120°C for 45 minutes. Yum!

Plan ahead

If you don’t fancy eating the flesh of your pumpkin, it still makes for a really delicious, autumnal stock. Over the course of a few days, save your veggie scraps like carrot tops, onion cut-offs, unused leek etc. (avoid pungent vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower).

Add the pumpkin guts (the stringy flesh of the pumpkin) and the veggie scraps to a large pan, and add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Pour over a pint of water and bring the pan to the boil. Once the concoction has bubbled at a rolling boil for a full minute, reduce to a simmer and let bubble away for an hour. You may want to make soups or risotto with this rich vegetable stock right away, but it can also be frozen for future use.

Get cosy

The most popular way to give new life to your pumpkin is to make a silky, warming soup. Our favourite recipe is Gordon Ramsay’s decadent take on this classic, with Parmesan cheese and trompette mushroooms. It’s great to have a few portions handy in the freezer for a wet afternoon when you don’t fancy slaving away in the kitchen.

Be a fairy godmother – transform your pumpkin!

In your home, you may be the green-fingered sort rather than the one who does most of the cooking. Once you’ve finished with your pumpkin, scrape out its seeds and rinse them. If you plant these in your garden, you could grow an incredible display of offspring fruits for 2019.

If you prefer other fruits and vegetables, chop up your pumpkin and toss it into the compost pile. You can enrich your compost for next year to create delicious foods, or see beautiful blooms make your garden look gorgeous.

Impress your guests

If you are having friends over and want a hearty, flavoursome meal that will be the talk of your group for weeks to come, make a delicious risotto (maybe even using the stock above) with roasted and puréed pumpkin. Risotto takes a while to cook, but is so worth it! Stirring fresh parsley, jewel-like dried cranberries and tangy goat’s cheese into this dish will make it taste fabulous; just make sure you have enough for seconds!

Kick back

Overdone it at your Hallowe’en party? Pamper yourself with a detoxifying face mask made from this seasonal fruit, which is great for the skin, by the way! Pumpkins are teeming with wrinkle-busting Vitamin A, C and E, as well as the calming properties of potassium and beta-carotene. To make a nourishing mask, you need to grab a bowl and mix together puréed pumpkin and half a teaspoon each of set honey and milk of any kind.

Apply the mask all over a clean face and neck, and allow it to do its magic for twenty minutes, after which you can just wipe away with a warm wet cloth. Tone and moisturise afterwards for best results.

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