Pumpkins!

Did YOU know that your carving pumpkins are totally edible? A scary 14.5 million pumpkins are going to waste this year, because they’re produced for decorations instead of what they should be – dinner! We always think it’s dubious how the ‘Best Before’ date on all the pumpkins we rescue from supermarkets is always one or two days after Halloween… 🤦

We made over 200 portions of delicious pumpkin soup this weekend for the COP26 events in Durham. We’ve still got lots left, and lots of pumpkins, too – so come to the cafe this week, sample our soup and take a pumpkin home with you to try making it yourself!

You can eat ALL the parts of a pumpkin except the stalk! All the info from Hubbub here: https://www.hubbub.org.uk/how-to-eat-pumpkin
And more delicious recipes here: https://www.hubbub.org.uk/Pages/Category/halloween
https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/pumpkin

Our recipe for pumpkin and red lentil soup:
1) Cut up the pumpkin into quarters, and remove the seeds and innards (keep them though*!). If a small pumpkin, you can just put the whole thing directly into the oven.
2) Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the skin is falling off and flesh is getting soft.
3) Meanwhile, chop two large onions and cook in a large pan on a medium heat with a little sugar for 20 minutes until they start going brown and caramelised.
4) Rinse 1 packet of red lentils in a sieve under the tap, then add to a different pan and cover with vegetable stock. Put the lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft. You might have to top up with water as it gets absorbed – keep an eye on it.
4) Add spices to your onions: we used around 2tsp cumin, ginger powder, paprika, 1tsp salt and pepper, cinnamon, chilli (but no need to be super precise – add more or less depending on how much pumpkin you have!)
4) Take pumpkin out of the oven and, once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and chop up flesh into chunks. Add to the pan with onions, and stir to coat everything in spices.
5) Add the lentils and more vegetable stock to fill the pan with liquid up to level of pumpkins. Cook for 10 minutes until everything is soft and smelling great.
6) Take off the heat, allow to cool a bit, and blend with a stick blender to make a smooth, creamy soup.

* Add roasted pumkpin seeds to garnish – rinse under the tap, spread out over an oven tray, sprinkle with salt, pepper, chilli/paprika and a drizzle of oil, and roast for 15-20 minutes until crunchy and delicious. Great as a snack too!

Let us know if you’ve managed to make anything with pumpkins this year!

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