Good Food Blog
How to cook with pumpkinPosted at 10:02AM, 26 October 2012 by Roxanne Fisher - Writer/Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
Once the hard, outer skin is carved to perfection, don't forget to put the rest of your pumpkin to good use. From sweet classics to savoury mains, the options for the bright orange squash are endless.
DIY Pumpkin seeds
The first thing you will do with your pumpkin, whether you're carving or simply cooking, is to scoop out the seeds. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre - so it would be a shame to throw them away. To roast and eat, simply clean your seeds, boil for 10 minutes to soften, then drain and dry on a paper towel. Finally toss with a little oil, spread out on a baking sheet and place them in a low oven for around 45 minutes (about 120°C) until they are crisp and golden brown. If you want to add a bit of flavour, sprinkle over salt, pepper, paprika, or whatever takes your fancy when you add the oil.
Grate into cake
The sweet, honied flesh of the pumpkin lends itself perfectly to cakes and bakes when grated. Combine with cinnamon for lightly spiced cupcakes, enhance the sweetness with clear honey or give your favourite carrot cake recipe a makeover. If you find your grated pumpkin is a little wet once prepared, simply give it a good squeeze before using and keep an eye on it when baking - the added moisture may mean it needs a little longer in the oven.
30 minutes or less
It's often assumed that cooking pumpkin will keep you in the kitchen for quite a while. This isn't always the case as our speedy squash favourites prove. Make a moreish mid-week meal by adding diced pumpkin to pasta, pop into a one-pot with iron-rich kale or simply serve lightly spiced as part of an antipasto or as a side.
A perfect blend
Soft pumpkin flesh blends effortlessly into a thick, velvety soup. Simply add onions, cream and stock to keep the colour bright and bold, or give your bowl an Asian twist with Thai flavours such as lemongrass and ginger. For a blend worthy of your next dinner party, first roast the squash to exaggerate the depth of flavour and serve with contrasting pancetta.
Keep it for cooking
Not a fan of the Jack O'Lantern? There are other ways to use the hard skin of your pumpkin. Bring all the beautiful Indian spice of a biryani to your squash and then serve inside the pumpkin itself. Alternatively, scoop out the seeds and strands, pour a garlic cream inside and allow it to penetrate the skin as you roast the pumpkin whole.
Classic pumpkin pie
One mention of pumpkin pie in the Good Food office proved it to be something of a Marmite dish. Love it or hate it, nothing tastes quite like the spiced pastry. Opt for the traditional with shortcrust pastry, nutmeg and cinnamon or give it a twist with a lattice top or filo finish.
Try our favourite pumpkin recipes
What are your top tips for cooking the winter squash?