When I buy a pumpkin for a Jack o’ Lantern, I like to use every last little bit of it. After I carved my pumpkin, I was left with plenty of pumpkin flesh and seeds.
Both of these recipes can be made veggie or vegan with substitutions!
To make toasted seeds:
Seasoning (optional: sugar, salt, chili, garlic powder, whatever you like!)
Separate the seeds out from the flesh. The best way as far as I know is to get stuck in and use your hands. Put the seeds in a pan and the rest to the side, add salt (optional) and water to the pan and bring to the boil. After agitating the seeds to clean off the last bits of pumpkin, drain off the salted water. It helps to get the seeds as dry as possible. Then place the seeds on a non-stick baking tray, add a little oil (whatever you have should be fine) and whatever seasoning you like. Spread the seeds out and then place them in the oven on a medium low heat for half an hour, or until the seeds turn brown. Turn the seeds every 10 minutes and make sure they don’t burn! You can also cook the seeds in a heavy skillet on the stove if you want.
For the soup:
Pumpkin flesh from 1 large pumpkin, diced
Oil (olive oil/sunflower oil/butter)
600ml stock (beef/chicken/vegetable)
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
Mild chili powder
Splash of milk/water
1 tbsp flour
When I was making this soup I had some bones leftover from some chicken thighs. I boiled these up on a low heat for a couple of hours to make some homemade chicken stock, and used it to make this soup. Any stock from stock cubes should work fine though.
Finely dice up the onion and garlic, and then add it to a saucepan with enough oil to fry it in. Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes until it is softened but not browned. Add the chili and cumin powder. Then add the pumpkin (Note, I used all the flesh including the stringy bits, pretty much nothing went to waste!), stir in and cook for a further 10 minutes. Now add the stock and bring the whole thing to a simmer. Put the spoonful of flour in a cup and add a splash of cold milk or water to it, mix in enough to form a flour paste the consistency of single cream. This is to thicken the soup a little. Add the flour mixture to the soup and stir in. Finally, remove the soup from the heat and use a hand blender (these are a great investment, not too expensive and handy for all sorts of things) to puree the soup until smooth.
On average, we waste 14% of our food purchases per year, and the average American family throws out over $600 of fruit per year. Most of the food we waste is due to spoilage; we’re buying too much and using too little of it.
Using Up Vegetables
1. Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good “mock hash brown.”
2. Don’t toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs.
3. Don’t toss broccoli stalks. They can be peeled and sliced, then prepared just like broccoli florets.
4. If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don’t waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers.
5. Roasted root vegetable leftovers can be turned into an easy, simple soup the next day. Add the veggies to a blender, along with enough broth or water to thin them enough to blend. Heat and enjoy.
6. If you’re preparing squash, don’t toss the seeds. Rinse and roast them in the oven, just like you would with pumpkin seeds. The taste is pretty much the same.
7. Celery leaves usually get tossed. There’s a lot of good flavor in them; chop them up and add them to meatloaf, soups, or stews.
8. Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. You can then store them in olive oil in the refrigerator (if you plan on using them within a week) or in the freezer.
9. Canning is always a good option. If you’re doing tomatoes, you can use a boiling water bath. If you’re canning any other type of veggie, a pressure canner is necessary for food safety.
10. Before it goes bad, blanch it and toss it in the freezer. This works for peas, beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and leafy greens like spinach and kale.
11. Too many zucchini? Make zucchini bread or muffins. If you don’t want to eat the bread now, bake it and freeze it, then defrost when you’re ready to eat it.
12.Pickle it. Cucumbers are the first veggie most of us think of pickling, but in reality, just about any vegetable can be preserved through pickling.
Ideas for Cutting Down on Fruit Waste
13. Make smoothies with fruit before it goes bad. Berries, bananas, and melons are great candidates for this use-up idea.
14. Jam is really easy to make, and will keep for up to a year if you process the jars in a hot water bath. If you don’t do the water processing part, you can keep the jam in the refrigerator for a month, which is a lot longer than the fruits would have lasted.
23. Freeze leftover bread. This way you’ll have day-old on hand whenever you need bread crumbs, or croutons rather than using fresh bread.
24. All of those little broken pieces of pasta in the bottom of the box? Collect them and mix with rice and veggies for a simple side dish.
25. A few tablespoons of leftover oatmeal isn’t enough for a meal, but it is great sprinkled on top of yogurt.
26. Add chopped bread to a soup. It will dissolve and thicken the soup.
27. Made too many pancakes for breakfast? Put them in the freezer, then toss in the toaster for a fast, tasty weekday breakfast. Ditto waffles.
28. If you make plain white or brown rice with dinner, use leftovers for breakfast the next morning by adding them to oatmeal. This provides extra fiber and allows you to use up that rice.
29. If you our your kids don’t like the bread crusts on your sandwiches, save these bits and pieces in the freezer to turn into bread crumbs later. Just throw the crusts into a food processor or coffee grinder to make them into crumbs. Season as you like.
30. If you have just a smidge of baby cereal left in the box, and it’s not enough for a full meal, add it to your babies pureed fruit. It adds bulk and fiber, and keeps baby full longer.
Make the Most of Meat
31. Don’t toss those chicken bones after you eat the chicken. Boil them to make chicken stock.
32. Ditto for bones from beef and pork.
33. The fat you trim from beef can be melted down and turned into suet for backyard birds.
34. Turn leftover bits of cooked chicken into chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.
35. Use leftover roast beef or pot roast in an easy vegetable beef soup the next day by adding veggies, water, and the cooking juices from the meat.
Use Dairy Before It Expires
36. If you’ve got a few chunks of different types of cheese sitting around after a party, make macaroni and cheese.
37. Eggs can be frozen. Break them, mix the yolks and whites together, and pour into an ice cube tray. Two frozen egg cubes is the equivalent of one large egg.
38. You can also freeze milk. Leave enough room in the container for expansion, and defrost in the refrigerator.
39. Use cream cheese in mashed potatoes or white sauces to give them thickness and tang.
40. Put Parmesan cheese into the food processor with day-old bread to make Parmesan bread crumbs. This is excellent as a coating for eggplant slices, pork, or chicken.
Herbs and How to Get the Most Out of Them
41. Chop herbs and add them to ice cube trays with just a little water. Drop whole cubes into the pan when a recipe calls for that type of herb.
42. You can also freeze herbs by placing them in plastic containers. Certain herbs, such as basil, will turn black, but the flavor will still be great.
43. Make pesto with extra basil or parsley.
44. Dry herbs by hanging them by their stems in a cool, dry location. Once they’re dry, remove them from the stems and store them in airtight containers.
Don’t Waste a Drop
45. Leftover coffee in the carafe? Freeze it in ice cube trays. Use the cubes for iced coffee or to cool down too-hot coffee without diluting it. You can do the same with leftover tea.
46. If there’s a splash or two of wine left in the bottle, use it to de-glaze pans to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking.
47. If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don’t pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of refrigerator pickles, or add it to salad dressings (or dirty martinis).
48. You can also freeze broth or stock in ice cube trays, and use a cube or two whenever you make a pan sauce or gravy.
49. If there’s just a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and swish it around. The lemon juice will loosen up the honey, and you have the perfect addition to a cup of tea.
50. If you can’t think of any way to use that food in the kitchen, compost it. Everything except for meat and dairy will work in a compost pile, and at least your extra food can be used for something useful. Such as growing more food!
About an hour of my lectures today focused on the Ginsters pasty.
About 10 minutes in I had nowt a thought in my head but “I WANT A FECKING PASTY”. Now I know what food I’m cooking up this weekend!
It was focusing on Life Cycle Analysis of the pasty or something…Environmental Management is a lecture I actually look forward to going to, despite it being a 3 hour 9am. The lecturer is great, tends to do stuff like go off on a mini tangent about the sex lives of hedgehogs, or getting us to place bets on whether someone will walk into the lecture between 9:30 and 10 (will they be a guy, will he be wearing a hat?).
“Dutch parents, by contrast, downplay the dangerous and difficult sides of teenage sexuality, tending to normalize it. They speak of readiness (er aan toe zijn), a process of becoming physically and emotionally ready for sex that they believe young people can self-regulate, provided they’ve been encouraged to pace themselves and prepare adequately. Rather than emphasizing gender battles, Dutch parents talk about sexuality as emerging from relationships and are strikingly silent about gender conflicts. And unlike Americans who are often skeptical about teenagers’ capacities to fall in love, they assume that even those in their early teens fall in love. They permit sleepovers, even if that requires an “adjustment” period to overcome their feelings of discomfort, because they feel obliged to stay connected and accepting as sex becomes part of their children’s lives.”—