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Pumpkins & Winter Squash

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

A basic how-to for cooking pumpkin & squash that are everywhere in Autumn. These lot were gleaned (harvested by volunteers to prevent them going to waste) and donated to local charities to turn into nutritious meals for the community.

1. Wash the squash very well- they might need some scrubbing

2. Cut off the stalk (which holds a lot of dirt) and a slice of the flesh to create a flat edge. This flat edge will make it safer to cut.

3. Cut the squash in chunks. Don’t worry how neat, just whatever you can manage with the knife you have.

4. Scoop out the seeds with your fingers. Use a spoon to scoop out any ‘guts’ (the stringy bits in the centre of the squash).

5. Wash the seeds and boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Then drain.

6. Place the squash wedges on a baking tray and cover with vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Spices and other seasonings can be added at this stage. A mix of oil and butter can also be used.

7. Roast in a hot oven for 30-40minutes (the time will depend on the size of the wedges and how good the oven is!). The flesh will be soft and slightly browned. The boiled seeds can be coated in a little oil and roasted on a baking tray for 10-15minutes until brown and crisp (use on salads or just as a snack).

8. Once the squash wedges are out of the oven, leave to cool. Once cool, scoop out the flesh from the skin.

9. Roughly smash the squash flesh with a potato masher or blend with a hand-blender. For a smoother puree, blend with stock or milk. Or the squash can just be roughly cut into chunks.

How to eat: The yellow & orange squash taste like a mix between courgette and pumpkin so work with summer flavours (lemon, feta, fennel etc.) as well as warming spices such as cumin & paprika. The mash/puree can be used in curries, stews, pasta sauces and risottos.

Try the puree: -with tomatoes, feta, butter beans, parsley and lemon for a rustic Mediterranean stew -with spices and cooked lentils for a dhal -with mash potatoes and cheese for a luxurious side dish or topping to a cottage pie

- with barley or rice with stock & cheese (or nutritional yeast) for a risotto

- in a soup with lentils, potatoes or other root veg

- in a tagine with Moroccan spices, apricots and chick peas

Try the roasted squash (not pureed):

- added to hummus, hot sauce and salad in a wrap - in salads with harissa dressing

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