By Morwenna Kearns
According to Hubbub, 42 per cent of people in the UK buy pumpkins each year, but only a third of of those folks actually eat the inside – it's just for a short-lived Halloween decoration.
A quarter just chuck that orange flesh straight in a bin destined for landfill (not even disposing it on a compost heap or a food waste bin for collection) which is especially scary. About 18,000 tonnes of scariness, in fact.
No more: Clearly has jumped on board Hubbub's #PumpkinRescue ghost train and turned its Jack-o'-lantern innards into a tasty, healthy and filling soup.
Serves six hungry Halloweeners
One medium pumpkin
Four cloves of garlic (fewer if you're less afraid of vampires)
One 400g tin of white beans like cannellini, haricot, white kidney, etc
Herbs and spices of your choice (we used a jar of spicy seasoning meant for pulled pork dishes, but curry powder would be delicious too)
Salt and pepper
About 300ml of vegetable stock
Slice off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the flesh – fibrous bits and all.
Pick out the seeds*, give them a rinse and leave them to dry.
Chop up the harder chunks of pumpkin into small pieces.
Peel and dice the carrots.
Chop the onions and fry them in the oil and seasoning on a low heat in a large saucepan until they are transparent.
Add the diced carrots and pumpkin. Stir continually for a few minutes until the water starts to come out of the pumpkin – there will be a LOT.
Chop the garlic.
Once it becomes a soupy consistency, add the garlic and seasoning, put a lid on the saucepan and leave it for about half an hour on the lowest heat, checking occasionally.
You'll find the water in the pumpkin has already made a delicious mush.** Drain the tin of beans and add them to the saucepan with the vegetable stock. Whack up the heat till it boils, then back down again to simmer for another 20 minutes.
Add more seasoning, herbs and spices to your taste. Let it cool.
Wazz it up with a hand blender to make a smooth consistency. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Reheat to serve.
Remember those seeds you picked out of the flesh? Don't let them go to waste. After rinsing, leave them to dry for a bit, then spread them on a baking tray. Put them in the oven on a low temperature to make sure they're really dried out.
Heat a large frying pan and add the seeds. Be careful: when they get hot they pop! Once they're cool again you could peel off the husks, or retain the fibre and fry the whole lot with a splash of oil, seasoning and spices. Serve them on top of your soup, on a salad or just snack on them in front of a good horror film.
*Yes, this is a faff. Either get a few people involved or set yourself up in front of the telly for this bit.
**You could, if you like, add this mush to a pastry case and make it into a savoury pumpkin pie instead of a soup.