Recycle your halloween pumpkin as yummy refrigerator soup

November 1 | Guest post by Katy
Okay. Maybe not THIS pumpkin. Photo by Justin Grimes. Used under Creative Commons license.

I love carving pumpkins — except it's always bothered me I am buying a huge vegetable, setting it outside for a few days, then throwing it away.

Inspiration hit when a friend explained "refrigerator soup," made from whatever veg was discovered stuck down the back of the fridge and a little past its prime. If this soup works for slightly saggy veg, couldn't it work for my old pumpkins too?

There are a gazillion easy recipes online and any of them will work. This is one I made by combining a couple recipes with vegetables I thought I'd like to eat together. It's got a warm, slightly spicy flavour, perfect for cold autumn mornings.

You will need:

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • ½ a red bell pepper
  • ½ a yellow bell pepper
  • About 400ml veg or chicken stock (or 2 stock cubes)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp chilli powder (to taste)
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  1. Start by cutting and skinning the pumpkin. I found it easiest to cut it into chunks first, then remove the skin. Remove any of the weird stringy bits that are still there. Discard anything that's burned or anything that's gone soggy. Dry or hard parts are fine.
  2. Add the pumpkin and everything else — the peppers, the stock and spices — to a saucepan. Fill with enough water to cover the veg. Make sure the water covers the veg but don't over-do it or you'll spend more time reducing it down later.
  3. Bring it to boil, simmer for a 15 minutes — or until pumpkin bits are mashable. Allow to cool for five minutes.
  4. Pumpkin chestnut soup
    And when you're done, make it look like this. Amy Ross, used under Creative Commons license.
    If you have a blender, it's time to get your puree on. If you don't, get out your potato masher and give your veg a soupy consistency. (You can also simply leave it on the oven or in a slow cooker until the veg has fallen apart.)
  5. Pour soup back into the saucepan and bring to a low simmer, stirring regularly. Give it a taste and adjust spices as needed.
  6. Let simmer uncovered 35 minutes, or until the soup's reached the desired consistency.

EAT! This soup can also be kept refrigerated or frozen, although I strongly recommend freezing individual portions because thawing a huge block of soup-ice when you just want one mug is a bitch.

Make use of your jack-o-lanterns and enjoy a cool October night.

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  1. If you're thinking soup, make sure the pumpkins you get for carving are also good for eating. There are many varieties of pumpkin and some are sweeter/tastier than others (but you carve any of 'em!)

    5 agree
    • Exactly what I was going to say. The pumpkins you usually find at the supermarket are pretty bland for cooking. Farmers markets will usually have "pie pumpkins" that are great for carving and cooking!

      1 agrees
  2. I know that this is a dumb question – but what part of the pumpkin can you eat? Not the stringy goop you scoop out before you carve, but the firm flesh that's left, right?

    1 agrees
    • that's right… you can scoop out the firm bits up to the skin (and I personally find it easier to roast it first, let it cool, then scoop) for use. you can also roast the pumpkin seeds with a little oil and salt and pepper which is mighty tasty.

      3 agree
    • Think of what you eat in a cantalope – the stuff between the goop and the rind. Same for the Halloweeny fleshy orange fruit. 🙂

      4 agree
    • Right, toss the goopy guts [into the compost bin] and use the hard parts. Although, I have found that, raw, the hard parts are still a little stringy-textured in the way that spaghetti squash is.

      1 agrees
  3. A word of caution: be sure your pumpkin has been placed somewhere food-safe. Bird droppings and animal "waste" is sometimes easy to miss on visual inspection because it's washed off with dew. I'd honestly recommend not eating an outdoor pumpkin for these reasons.
    If your pumpkin has been hit by frost, it's probably a goner. And it's obviously a goner if it's been hit by mold.

    3 agree
    • Pumpkins (like most vegetables, fruits, and gourds) grow outdoors in most instances, and are exposed to all manner of poop. Just wash and all should be well.

      I've made beef stew cooked inside a semi-hollowed pumpkin. Scoop out some of the flesh when you serve and it goes really well with the stew. Just be sure if you oven-bake it, you use a deep baking dish, just in case your pumpkin can't stand up to the heat and gets mushy.

      1 agrees
  4. I'd say, use your judgement on this- it's a fine line between 'past it's peak' and rotten. If you carve your jack-o-lantern shortly before halloween and it was kept inside and clean, go for it.

    That being said, I often make soup with vegetable scraps and for pumpkin and squash soups, a splash of white wine or curry powder never hurt anyone…

    1 agrees
  5. Great post! I made something similar on Halloween with some pumpkin scrapings from jack o lantern carving, while husband and I waited for Trick or Treaters… but mine was a curry and coconut base with homemade chicken stock. I served with a side of toasted and salted pumpkin seeds. Kept well for a couple days in the fridge and froze well. I ate it all by the end of the week. An immersible blender is awesome for this kind of soup!

    2 agree
    • That sounds lovely! I bought four pumpkins this year, so I'll definitely give your recipe a try with one of them.

  6. Just made this with two small pie pumpkins, that I didn't end up carving. I made it with chicken stock, carrots, and celery, and some spices, like curry powder and cayenne. Spicy and good!

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