Pumpkins are for Autumn, not just for Halloween
Autumn is a great time of year bringing Halloween, Bonfire Night - all topped off with the build up to Christmas. Each season has its perks but Autumn, in my opinion, feels more magical than the others.
The new season brings with its delicious produce and a new range of flavours and recipes that are more comforting than the salads and BBQs that have been consumed in the previous months.
As Halloween approaches, people start stocking up on pumpkins ready to carve them up into all manner of scary faces! But, this classic vegetable (which is part of the squash family) is available from September through to March, meaning it’s also available through winter! Interesting fact: pumpkins are rich in vitamin A - primarily known for its role in promoting good eye health. It’s also thought to be important for the immune function, improving the body’s defences and helping to fight off infections more quickly.
This makes it the perfect vegetable to use over the colder months and help combat the wide range of colds and flu that begin to circulate.
There are numerous uses for pumpkins and some of them may
Pumpkin puree – this is needed as the base for various recipes (pumpkin pie being the predominant one)
Pumpkin planter – put some soil and a plant inside and use this as a decoration for a few days. It can then be buried in the pumpkin (which will naturally compost and fertilize your plant)
Pumpkin veg stock – use those stringy bits along with other vegetables to make a veg stock base
Pumpkin seeds – Roast off the seeds and use them as a healthy grazing snack
Pumpkin skin care – Sounds crazy but pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A & C. This means pumpkin puree is healthy for your body if you eat it but also healthy to apply to your skin!
Today’s recipe is a super quick, easy to make, is a lovely alternative to your traditional jam, contains one of your five a day and is super versatile.
400 grams pumpkin puree
100 ml apple juice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
200 grams white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Halve your pumpkin and roast in an oven (skin side up) at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes. The skin should peel off easily and leave you with a soft inner which can be blitzed into a puree.
Combine the pumpkin puree, apple juice, spices and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir well.
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened making sure you stir frequently.
Transfer to a sterile container, preferably a kilner jar and chill in the refrigerator until serving (for a smoother finish you can blitz the mix before putting it into a container to chill).
Now you have the option to use your pumpkin butter as a spread on your toast, muffins or bagels or as the mix for a pumpkin pie. You can even put it into a pumpkin cheesecake adding candied pecans to make it an autumnal luxury.
If you have a go at the recipe or have any other useful ideas, we would love it if you would share them with us! And if you’re braver than me then perhaps you’ll try the pumpkin skin care!!