University student Ellie loves food and is always looking for ways to eat healthy while sticking to the budget that is living as a student. She believes there is life beyond beans on toast and wants to raise awareness that take-away and ready-made meals are more expensive than buying ingredients fresh.
I've never carved a pumpkin. I know, I know, I have no idea how I've got through 20 years without doing it either but, hey, at least I don't live in America because it's practically a cardinal sin to those guys. However, we Brits make some kind of sporadic effort to celebrate All Hallows' Eve and this was the year I was going to lose my pumpkin carving virginity.
I'd been looking for some Halloween-themed recipes, but a lot of them seemed to call for canned pumpkin, something I'm yet to find, or pumpkin flesh, which, as well as being needed to create my masterpiece, apparently doesn't taste great from carving pumpkins. So, for now, I decided to stick to something super simple: pumpkin seeds. I know what you're thinking, but I'm not the kind of person who can have a handful of seeds and think 'yep, that's my food cravings satisfied for the day now', but trust me, these are surprisingly tasty.
It's also great because if you're buying pumpkins to carve anyway - which I urge you to do because it's so much fun - then you've already got the seeds inside so you don't have to buy anything; a bag of these costs 1-2 pounds in supermarkets and I ended up with loads from just two pumpkins. Not only that but you're not wasting anything either (apart from the stringy stuff, but I had a thorough search of the internet and there didn't seem to be much worthwhile to do with it, but I'm open to suggestions!). I'll be honest, these seeds took more effort than I thought they were going to be but, you've already got to get all of the insides out anyway to carve them and, if you do it with a friend, you can alternate carving and prepping and then by the time you're done with your pumpkin friends, you'll have a tasty snack to relax!
Cost: 50p as served; £3 as purchased.
- 2 - pumpkins
- 1tbsp - olive oil
- 2tsp - salt
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Scoop all the insides out of the pumpkins and put them all in a bowl of water.
Roughly separate the seeds and put them in a bowl.
Use a colander to wash them and remove any pumpkin remains.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add 1 tsp salt.
Add the seeds and simmer for 10 mins.
Drain the seeds in the colander and tip them out onto a tea towel.
Pat them to remove any excess water, but don’t worry if they’re not fully dry.
Mix them in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt.
Spread evenly over a baking tray and put them in the oven for 10 mins.
Remove, and reshuffle them to make sure they all bake evenly.
Put them back in the oven for 10 minutes and take out when they’re beginning to brown (or taste done!).
- You can skip steps 5-7 if you’re short on time or just can’t be bothered. I read that it makes them crispier but it’s not necessary!
- As tempting as it is to go overboard on the salt, remember you can always add more after they’re done. Mine turned out a little too salty and I was up and down to get more water after every handful!