October is the start of autumn and the start of the winter squashes. Butternut squash and pumpkin are the most popular but there are a whole lot more squashes out there. They are all perfect for roasting or stuffing or adding to soups. Remember Pumpkins are not just for Halloween but are a delicious, versatile and healthy vegetable.
October is also the month of apple harvesting. Some apple trees have fruit ready to pick in September or even August. Some are as late as November but the majority are ready to pick in October. Stored well your apples can last you for months.
We have run a few Halloween cooking sessions for children and are keen to show families how to use all that scraped-out pumpkin flesh to make yummy food. We also showed how to make healthy Halloween snacks with our apple spiders. We paired out pumpkin flesh with apples for a really tasty child-friendly soup too, making the best of this season’s star fruit and veg. We offer a healthy alternative to all that Halloween sugar with our healthy-ish pumpkin & chocolate chip muffins too.
Pumpkins are cheap to buy after the end of October when all those Halloween pumpkins come falling in price so keep on eating autumn squash well into winter.
Here are some of our pumpkin recipes to try
Pumpkin & Apple Soup Serves 6-8
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 600g pumpkin flesh
- 2 tomatoes or 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- 1/4 tsp mild chilli powder
- 1tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander ( If you don’t have those spices just put in a tsp of curry powder)
- 2 large apples – Cooking apples are best or sharp-tasting apples like Granny Smiths*
- 1 litre of vegetable stock. ( you can use a stock cube or make your own vegetable stock from veg scraps and pumpkin seeds from inside your pumpkin
- Herbs: Bay leaf and sprig of thyme or a couple of sage leaves ( or use 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs)
- Add a large handful of red lentils for some protein
- Can be served topped with a spoonful of greek yoghurt (or some nut cream to keep it vegan)
- Chop a handful of fresh herbs like coriander, flat-leaf parsley or chives to sprinkle on the top of each bowl before serving
- Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on top to increase the nutritional value ( pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and magnesium as well as being a source of protein)
Chopping board & sharp knife
Large saucepan with lid
- Peel and finely chop the onion. (Keep the skins and ends if you are going to make your own stock. Put them in a pan with the pumpkin seeds. Add some herbs like bay leaves, thyme or rosemary and cover with 1 litre of boiling water from the kettle. Put on a pan lid and simmer for 15miutes until you need it. Remember to drain the stock through a sieve or colander before you use it )
- Peel, core and chop the apples
- Chop the fresh tomatoes if using ( If you don’t like tomato skin you can peel them first before you chop them and add the skins to the stockpot)
- Get the pumpkin flesh you have scraped out from making your Pumpkin lantern. Or peel and chop your squash into bite-size chunks
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook slowly for about 5 minutes, until it has softened, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spices, stir and cook for another minute
- Add the pumpkin flesh and apple chunks. Cook for 3 minutes until it has softened, stirring as needed. You will need to cook for a few minutes longer for cubes of fresh pumpkin
- Pour the vegetable stock into the soup pan. Stir well and add your herbs. If you have a bay leaf or a sprig of thyme tying them together with a piece of string helps to remove them later. If you want to use sage then finely chop a couple of leaves and add now. Alternatively, you could just add 1/2 teaspoon mixed dried herbs.
- Cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil, Then simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the pumpkin and apple is soft and cooked through
- Add a splash more stock or water, if needed. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs ( if using) Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
- If you like smooth soup you can use a stick blender to blitz any lumps of apple or pumpkin or you can serve your soup a little bit chunky
- Use a ladle to spoon into bowls. If you have any fresh herbs like chives, parsley or fresh coriander you can snip a few over the top, or you can add a little natural yoghurt on top and a few pumpkin seeds.
Healthy(ish) Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients: ( makes 12)
230g Pumpkin puree- use the flesh scraped out of your pumpkin lantern and steam it
220g wholemeal flour (or half wholemeal half plain or all plain flour)
150g honey or maple syrup
1tsp baking powder
6 tbsp rapeseed oil (or any veg oil)
60 ml of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2tsp mixed spice
( or 1tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cloves, ¼ tsp nutmeg)
Pinch of salt
*If you don’t have these just use sugar- it’s not as good for you but the muffins will still taste lovely
Optional Extra ingredients
50 g chocolate chip or chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts, or some chopped dried fruit like raisins, cranberries or chopped crystallized ginger.
12 Hole muffin tray
12 paper muffin cases
Large mixing bowl
Small mixing bowl
Large measuring jug
Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
Wire cooling rack
- Put your pumpkin scrapings in a steamer or colander set over a pan of simmering water and cook for 5-10 mins. Mash and leave to cool. Alternatively, microwave the pumpkin in a bowl with a splash of water for 3 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your muffin tin with 12 paper cases
- Weigh out together your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, spice, oats and a pinch of salt. Blend well with a whisk.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil and honey or maple syrup and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla Mix well
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl bit by bit and mix with a big spoon or spatula, just until combined
- If you’d like to add any additional ingredients like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, gently fold them in now.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little extra oats. You could even sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds if you’d like.
- Bake the muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. If you have leftover muffins, store them, covered, at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.