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By Rachel Weston on

Spooky and sustainable recipes from Real Food Wythenshawe

With Halloween around the corner we've got pumpkins on the brain. But have you ever thought about what happens to all of the waste from inside the pumpkin?

Whether you want to carve a jack-o-lantern for the kids, or decorate your home, you’ll probably want at least one pumpkin.

As fun as it is to be creative with pumpkins, each year up to 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin waste is thrown into Britain’s bins, which is a huge amount of food waste.

It’s not immediately obvious what you can do with your leftover pumpkin flesh, but here at Real Food Wythenshawe we’ve got some tasty recipes to turn your scraps into scoff.

Looks a bit ‘squashed’ in this photo… Image credit: Rick Briggs, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UK

Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients

500g pumpkin cut into chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tablespoons tahini paste

400g chickpeas drained

Salt and black pepper

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
  • Place the pumpkin flesh in a roasting tin with the garlic and olive oil
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until very tender, then remove from the oven and leave to cool
  • Tip the pumpkin into a food processor with the juice from the roasting tin
  • Add the lemon juice, tahini paste and chickpeas
  • Blend to a smooth paste
  • Season to taste
  • Serve with vegetable sticks, breadsticks or warm pitta bread

Top tip

If the hummus seems a little thick, add a bit more olive oil.

Fancy something sweeter? Try these pumpkin and chocolate brownies

Pumpkin brownies are pretty much a superfood

Ingredients

300g pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces

100g dark chocolate melted

4 eggs

200g golden caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

75g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

Icing sugar for dusting

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
  • Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper
  • Put the pumpkin into a heatproof bowl. Splash a little water over, cover with cling film and microwave on high for 10 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess water and mash with a fork
  • Place the melted chocolate in a large bowl and whisk in the mashed pumpkin
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
  • Fold in the sieved cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt
  • Add the chocolate and pumpkin mix
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25–30 minutes until the brownie has set
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin
  • Remove from the tin and cut into squares, then dust with icing sugar

Top tip

Using pumpkin or butternut squash in brownies adds not only sweetness, but also gives a lovely fudgy texture which is essential in a good brownie!

These recipes are not only unbelievably delicious but using pumpkin flesh and seeds also has great health benefits:

  • Fibre: Pumpkin flesh is very low in calories and contains an abundance of dietary fibre. It is extremely effective for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation and indigestion. The high amount of fibre also helps in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood and in regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Prostate cancer: The protective compounds present within the pumpkin seeds, called phytosterols, can lower the risk of prostate cancer. These work by shrinking the prostate and stimulating the secretion of chemicals that protect against the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High DHT levels can cause enlargement of the prostate gland.
  • Great on your skin: The high amount of Vitamin A, C and E as well as Zinc present in pumpkin, make it a great choice for those who want a healthy and glowing skin.
  • Essential fatty acids: Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits. From providing protection against serious diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer to promoting healthy skin and improving brain power, essential fatty acids present in pumpkin oil offer several health benefits.
  • Vitamin A: Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A. Regular consumption of pumpkin (both seeds and flesh) can maintain eye health and boost your immune system.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps fight free radicals, improves immunity and promotes the production of collagen. The high Vitamin C content in pumpkins can also offer protection against various forms of cancer.
  • Magnesium: Both the pulp and seeds of pumpkin are rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral required for various biological functions. Magnesium is also required for the maintenance  of healthy bones and teeth.
Eat pumpkin so that you don’t end up with teeth like,err, a pumpkin

Now in its fourth year, Real Food Wythenshawe has established a vibrant programme of food growing and cooking activities designed to inspire people to eat seasonally, and eat well.

This year we’re putting on three events for Manchester Science Festival: Dolly the Onion: Giant Growing, In a Right Pickle and Fish Poo can Save the World.

See you there and don’t forget to save your pumpkin flesh this Halloween!

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