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Pumpkin Harvest – How to use them in your woodfired oven

Hallowe’en is over and the winter months are stretching ahead. If you’ve been growing pumpkins and squash this year, you’ve probably had a bumper harvest along with all the other fruits, nuts and veggies which have produced huge amounts. The next question is what to do with them – fortunately they keep well so you can use them right through the winter.

Pumpkin Harvest - How to use them in your woodfired oven

Here’s a couple of ways of how we prepare them –

You may well have discovered by now how challenging it can be to cut into a squash, particularly the big green-skinned ones. A chisel seems like the only way in at times. One of the best ways for these big green squash is to put them in the woodfired oven whole at about 3-4 Mississippi

Bake the squash until it is tender right through and then let it cool. Cut through the top of the squash with a knife so you take out a lid, pull that out and then scoop out the seeds. In fact, often you don’t even need a knife – you can just pull the flesh apart with your hands. Scrape the cooked flesh away from the skin. Discard the skin and then mash up the flesh.

Alternatively if the squash is small and not so tough, cut it into quarters, scoop out the seeds and put the quarters in a roasting tin flesh side up. We score the flesh and then rub in some olive oil and seasoning. Put the roasting tin in your woodfired oven and roast the squash until tender. Either serve the squash quarters as they are – delicious sliced up, skin and all – or again, peel off the skin and mash the cooked flesh.

Keep the cooked flesh in the fridge and use it up within 3-4 days or freeze it in batches, remembering to label them first.

And what to do with them once they’re prepped –

  • Squash are always great in curries – try our Squash Curry with Naan Breads
  • Use some of the roast flesh as a pasta sauce – we use about 2tbsp per person and then heat it gently with a little garlic oil, some chopped fresh red chilli to taste and lots of black pepper. Stir in 1tbsp creme fraiche and a little salt and then toss the mixture through some hot cooked pasta.
  • Use the flesh as a pizza topping as we did in our Wood Fired Oven Cook Book

Pumpkin Harvest - How to use them in your woodfired oven

  • Use the cooked flesh as a topping for crostini or in sandwiches. Here we’ve topped a crostini with the pumpkin flesh, some chopped olives, some marinated red onions and a little grated Parmesan. Pumpkin Harvest - How to use them in your woodfired oven
  • Use the cooked flesh in soup – we sweat an onion with a crushed garlic clove and 3cm grated root ginger in a little oil until tender. Add 400g of cooked squash flesh and 750ml chicken or vegetable stock. Season well, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in some creme fraiche if you like and whizz until smooth.
  • In stuffed parathas but make sure the filling is very dry.
  • in this picture, we rustled up a vegetarian main course by quartering a Hubbard squash and scooping out the seeds. We put the quarters in a roasting tin, scored them, rubbed them with olive oil and seasoning and a little chopped rosemary and then roasted them in the woodfired oven with some cherry chips on the embers to add some smoke. Put the door on slightly ajar so the smoke flavours the squash. Once they were tender, (about 45 minutes as they are pretty dense) the skins came off and the hot flesh was mashed with 50g butter, a dollop of creme fraiche and some freshly grated Parmesan. Served with the hasselbacksĀ that were roasted at the same time with some whole roasted garlic cloves and steamed Savoy cabbage. Seasonal food at its best!

Hope you enjoy our pumpkin and squash ideas – do let us know how you get on and what you make yourselves.

Happy Cooking

David and Holly