30 Oct 2019: twas the night before
Christmas Halloween … yes it’s that time of year again. Spooky scary Halloween is tomorrow. How many posts have you seen about pumpkins this year? There’s always loads about what to do with the flesh and seeds after carving. I’ve shared plenty of these posts before. But this year I thought I’d try actually carving a pumpkin and seeing how easy it is to save the flesh and seeds to eat. This is what I learned…
Saving and roasting the seeds is really easy
- Spoon or hand, this is super easy. And you can clean the bits of pumpkin off the seeds by rinsing them in cold water.
- I’ve roasted seeds before and they weren’t great. But this time I followed the Hubbub recipe where you boil them for ten minutes before roasting. Find the recipe here. The boiling gives them a great salty flavour (but you can get away with less than the recipe suggests).
- Definitely a good shout.
Carving a pumpkin to retain the flesh is HARD!
- Carving inside the skin of a cylindrical shaped object to leave minimum excess flesh all over and yet keeping the skin firm enough to support itself – that’s just simply tricky.
- If you were going to eat a pumpkin, let’s be honest, you’d peel it.
- I tried chopping the bottom off (in a Halloween styled zigzag mouth shape) to give me better access to the lower flesh. But I still only got part of it out. And not in good sized or even chunks.
- You can probably buy special tools to help, but how many random gadgets do we need?
- If you really feel it’s necessary to carve a pumpkin, then of course take out as much flesh as possible and roast it up for soups and yummy recipes.
- But personally, I think I’ll just eat the pumpkin next time. Especially as I like it roasted skin on, although I’m still trying to persuade others that that’s a good shout 😄
Don’t leave pumpkins too long once they’re ripe before you use them
- Darn it I was excited to carve a pumpkin off our allotment. It was the last one and it had been there a month longer than planned – time got in the way. Unfortunately I think that was a month too long.
- If you’re going to carve anything for decoration and then throw it away, using an old gnarled pumpkin off a pumpkin patch is probably your best bet as you won’t be wasting edible food.
- (But lets be clear I’m not suggesting letting pumpkins rot just so can justify carving them. Don’t do that!)
Is it time to question the meaning of
- Ok this one will sound super grumpy bah humbug, but hear me out.
- Having decided it was stupid to try and carve a pumpkin and make good use of the flesh, my immediate thought was how to make a non food waste and long lasting pumpkin alternative.
- So many great ideas – like drilling holes in and painting a tin can so it glows with a candle inside; or a tissue paper display that will glow with the lights from your window. Make it once, make it well, then keep it for ever. That’s good hey?
- But looking at why we in particular have a pumpkin, it’s because we want to tell local families that we’re a house open for trick or treat.
- Listening to the Sustainababble podcast the other day made me think twice about this. We all know the world is at a critical tipping point. As they said on the show, if we need to turn things around we’ll have to rethink our life choices. That will include how we travel, what we wear, where we holiday and what we eat. And also how and what we celebrate.
- So in light of that, is it really useful to encourage even more excess consumerism – even if the trimmings do appear more sustainable? By buying into trick or treat we commit to buying more chocolate or sweets for kids who generally have quite enough anyway. We create more packaging waste – be it foil or plastic or little tiny nets. And orange plastic buckets for them to be collected in and cheap Halloween outfits that will be worn once and throw away.
- I know it’s fun and it makes people smile. But is that enough?
So yes, using all your pumpkin is important. Roasted pumpkin seeds are yummy and I’ll definitely do that more often now. Carving flesh out without peeling is stupid. Just eat the darned pumpkin – it’s lush and too good to waste. And sadly I think I’m going to opt out of the trick or treat thing entirely this year. My sad little bad tasting poorly carved pumpkin will just sit in the lounge and twinkle instead.