Be A Responsible Hallowe’en Cook!

Yes, I’m going to reissue my annual plea that everyone who carves a Pumpkin for this ‘holiday’ should follow through and preserve the squash for eating over the next year. With all the starving people around the world looking on at you in disbelief, how can you justify just throwing it away?

Squash Ravioli - © josephsgourmetpasta.comSquash Ravioli: An Italian Classic you can make with any Winter Squash!

There’s nothing more nutritious or delicious than a Winter Squash, as an accent to any cold weather meal. Bake them; cube them as a side Veggie; purée them; make a casserole (subhead: Many Ways To Enjoy…); put them in a Pie; make a savoury, creamy Soup. And that’s just the beginning of the things you can do respect the sacrifice your Hallowe’en Jack-o-Lantern made.

Plan ahead and preserve accordingly…

I like to boil up my Pumpkin and purée it, then freeze it in 500 ml and 1 L bags. East to handle, and the right size for any recipe I’ll want to make in the future. Just cut the peel off the pumpkin, cut into 1 in. / 2.5 cm cubes dump into a large stock or soup pot and add a cup or two of water to ensure it doesn’t burn. It may take a couple of hours for the pumpkin to become soft, depending on how big a potful you have! Great for Soups and Pies. I’ve also frozen some just cubed, in past years, perfect for making a quick, tasty side Veggie dish.

My neighbour, who also cares enough to preserve her Pumpkin for the table, swears by simply cutting it into serving-sized wedges and tossing them into meal-sized freezer bags. Simple. And you can go from there to baking with the simple addition of Salt, Pepper and Oil. Or Butter, if you’re prone to decadence… Leftover baked wedges can also be scooped of the skins and puréed for a nice side-dish mash. Try blending puréed Pumpkin with Turnip for a real treat!

But there’s more…

Try Pumpkin Cake and Pumpkin Quick Bread! Bake up a big batch and freeze the loaves individually for quick access when unexpected company appears. To thaw, just wrap the loaf tightly in fresh plastic and place in the microwave, top down, for one and a half minutes at full power. Turn over and mic for another minute and a half. It will come out as if it was just fresh baked.

Italian dishes often use Squash as a bulker-upper and a bright colour splash. There are a number of Italian soups and Sauces that feature Squash. And Squash Ravioli is an Italian Classic!

Don’t forget the French, especially Marseillaise cuisine and other dishes from the south. No self-respecting Ragout would be without it, and Squash is the star of a number of traditional dishes.Vegetable dishes

And anything you can do with Sweet Potatoes, you can also do with any kind of Winter Squash. I’ve played with Caribbean spices and African flavours with great success!

Let your creativity loose!

There’s a big, wide world of Pumpkin recipes out there to explore!

~ Maggie J.