What to eat in October – Pumpkins and Apples

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 ran a few cooking sessions for children this Halloween and we were 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 offered a healthy alternative 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

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 600g pumpkin flesh
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 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)
  • Bay leaf and sprig of thyme ( optional)
  • A handful of fresh herbs like coriander, flat-leaf parsley or chives (optional)

Equipment:

Chopping board & sharp knife
Peeler
Large saucepan with lid
Wooden spoon
Measuring spoon
Ladle

Directions:

  1. 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 )
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples
  3. Chop the fresh tomatoes ( If you don’t like tomato skin you can peel them first before you chop them and add the skins to the stockpot)
  4. Get the pumpkin flesh you have scraped out from making your Pumpkin lantern. Or peel and chop your squash into bite-size chunks
  5. 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.
  6. Add the spices, stir and cook for another minute
  7. Add the pumpkin flesh and apple chunks. Cook for 3 minutes until it has softened, stirring as needed
  8. Pour the vegetable stock into the soup pan. Stir well.
  9. Cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil, If you have a bay leaf or a sprig of thyme you can add it now. Then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin and apple is soft and cooked through
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. Use a ladle to spoon into bowls. If you have any fresh herbs like chives or fresh coriander you can snip a few over the top

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)

40g oats

2 eggs 

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.

Equipment:

Weighing scales

12 Hole muffin tray

12 paper muffin cases

Large mixing bowl

Small mixing bowl

Large measuring jug 

Wooden spoon or rubber spatula

Sieve

Wire cooling rack

Cooking Instructions:

  1. 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
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your muffin tin with 12 paper cases
  3. Weigh out together your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, spice, oats and a pinch of salt. Blend well with a whisk.
  4. 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
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl bit by bit and mix with a big spoon or spatula, just until combined
  6.  If you’d like to add any additional ingredients like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, gently fold them in now.
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 

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