By Scarlet Sproson

It is that time of year once again when the leaves have withered and the droplets of rain cling to the blurred, misted windows as they try desperately not to fall. Sweet smells of hot cocoa envelop your senses as you feel that comforting heat penetrate through your palms, as the enchanting words of your favorite book echo in your mind. Doesn’t it seem just perfect?

As you walk through that pumpkin patch, with your friends, smothering your vision with beauty, you can feel that cool, autumn breeze tickle you at the back of your neck.

Searching for that perfect pumpkin can be difficult. Too big, too small, too orange. The list is endless. It’s an activity enjoyed by millions during the autumn season as many fight to design the most desirable pumpkin to be placed on the front porch. The pumpkin carving competitions taking place throughout the world are like a battle to the death and does indeed usually become a permanent tradition enjoyed by all families and friends. However, the vast quantity of waste produced from pumpkin carving every year is no longer sustainable. So, what can we do to stop the waste?

Every year, approximately 15.8 million pumpkins go to waste during the Halloween season which is enough for nearly 95 million meals as people still don’t seem to realise that carving pumpkins are, in fact, edible!

Yep, you are probably wondering now how you could even possibly utilise the insides from that pumpkin you carefully picked out from the patch, but you’ll be surprised at just how long the list is of pumpkin-based dishes. It’s practically endless!

When you are cozying up in-front of your blazing, golden fireplace, you may want a sweet snack to accompany that classic movie or that nostalgic book that you know inside and out. Well, I know the perfect, classic pumpkin treat that will definitely ‘spice’ up the autumn season and will transport your taste buds to a state of pure bliss!

The classic, simple pumpkin pie has been a recipe loved by my family for generations and I hope that I can share that love with you as it sure does indeed make my heart grow fonder for the Halloween season, especially when baking it with the people I hold dearest in my life.

What will you need?

– 430g of pumpkin cubes (from your beloved pumpkin)

– 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

– 2 large eggs

– 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice

– Short-crust pastry (can be ready-rolled or homemade)

The 4 simple steps you need to create that ‘pumpkin goodness’:

Step 1: Begin by steaming your pumpkin in a colander set over a pan of simmering water, and cook for 10 minutes. Make sure it is cooked through and then mash and leave to cool to create your pumpkin purée.

Step 2: Place the pumpkin purée, sweet condensed milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl and whisk until it is all combined. Then you must preheat your oven to 220C.

Step 3: Roll out your short-crust pastry (if you are making this from scratch, find a recipe online) on a surface sprinkled with a little bit of flour, until it is around 25cm wide to be placed into your 8-inch pie container, with the pastry sticking a bit over the edges to create a golden crust.

Step 4: Pour your filling into your pumpkin pie container with the rolled pastry and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature of your oven to 180C and bake for 35 minutes more, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. And then after two hours of cooling, it’s ready to serve and to be enjoyed by the whole family!

And so there you have it. Baking, a wonderful activity that can be enjoyed by all, can be another tradition to add to the list for the autumn. It is not only fun and tasty, but limits the number of pumpkins that are wasted each year!

Even if sweet dishes are not for you, there is still a variety of warm, savoury dishes, made with pumpkins that can be found online to really heighten that autumnal nostalgia that hits you every year. And if you do not like pumpkins, make it for your neighbour or friend that you may have drifted apart from to really connect with those that you care for once again and to just overall enjoy the magic of the holiday.

Keep warm, spend quality time with those that you love and just let those smells of fresh pumpkins and hot steaming cocoa, combined with that fresh autumn breeze transport you to an ethereal world filled with a cozy, warm feeling of delight…