Yes you can have your pumpkin and eat it too - how to make this autumn staple an integral part of your zero waste journey
Can I say that strangely this is one of my favourite seasons?
Changes in the air, in the colours and the season of my favourite food: pumpkin!!
I am so glad that pumpkin is locally grown where I live, so I have access to all different types and qualities. I love the ones that I can get at Franken fruit , and they come in all shape and sizes - from the most traditional orange ones, to those with the dark green skin to butternut types and so on.. and you can get mini ones that are perfect for single life...
But by the time you skinned the pumpkin and removed all the seeds you are often left over with a lot less to cook than you imagined lugging that heavy thing all the way home in your bike aaand a lot of waste.
So, how to make the most of your recent purchase ?
Of course by actually using the ‘scraps’ instead of throwing them to waste.
I have to say, since I get my produce locally and from a chemical free farm I do cook the skin. I wash it off of all the dirt and then just leave it attached in my recipes. It goes soft and adds some extra fibres to the meal!
If you don’t feel like it , keep the skin and reuse it to add some bulk and texture in soups. Or if you really don’t want to be directly eating skin then you can always use it for broth making.
At a last resort, instead of putting in the bin you can use it to add some great nutrition to your garden.
Pumpkin seeds coming inside of your pumpkin are exactly the same to those sold in those very expensive plastic packets!
Yes the ones that are sold for the most part have been shelled, and have to say the shelling process does not look so appealing and sounds like an enormous waste of time ...
But wait, in foreign food shops pumpkin seeds come with all of the shell! And .. turns out is very edible and also contains some yummy extra fibres that most people on a western diet are lacking!
You can then proceed to eat them raw (delicious by the way - I like to add a little bit of chilli powder and it makes for a perfect aperitivo to snack on while you are waiting for your pumpkin to cook ). If you are not eating them immediately then I would recommend to rinse them from the pulp and dry them. They are perfect to keep for a few days (I keep them in the fridge but maybe you can also keep them out) and eat as a snack!
Raw seeds have the advantage of keeping some of their nutrient intact but if you want a tastier snack or maybe you have guests, try roast them. Two ways of doing them, usual one in the oven or a simpler one: Add a little bit of oil on a shallow pan, proceed to shallow fry them moving the pan in a circular motion often to turn them around. Add seasoning of your choice , again chilli flakes are top on my list. You can add them as a topping to soup as well!
Something I have not yet tried but really want to experiment with (help and advice appreciated in comments section please! or get in contact), is to mill them and produce my own seed powder to add in more soups and smoothies. I will update you on the results ;)
Enjoy your pumpkin season with all of its health benefits (no pumpkin spiced latte don’t count, sorry ) and make it as efficient as possible so it can be guilt free :)
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