When the leaves begin to turn all shades of yellow, red, and gold, that doesn’t just mean that fall is here—it means you better start stocking up on your candy supply, as well as coming up with original costume ideas! Halloween, falling on October 31st every year, finds its roots in Western Christianity. Also known as All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween is the first of three days of feasting in observance of Allhallowtide, a time where practicing Christians pay homage to the dead and departed.
But Halloween’s Christian history is probably not so well known to the millions of children all over the world who engage in trick-or-treating and pumpkin-carving. Truth be told, the same is probably true for the more grown up amongst us as well. Costume parties, horror movies, and bonfires are probably more associated with Halloween than religious observance for the majority of adults who celebrate the occasion.
And while Halloween doesn’t possess a strong association with any particular food aside from candy, there is one food item that has become a symbol of the holiday, even though not in the context of actual food consumption. This is, of course, the pumpkin, carved versions of which grace lawns all over American suburbs toward the end of October.
Pumpkins aren’t just for carving
If you have any leftover pumpkins after the face-carving craziness has subsided, then you best figure out some tasty ways to get the most out of these delicious, autumnal vegetables. If you’re short on time and hankering after a pumpkin-based dish, then why not whip up a delicious cream of pumpkin soup? You’ll be enjoying this hearty soup in less than half an hour, and beyond the obvious pumpkin required, this recipe’s ingredients list is pretty short. Combine your pumpkin with some sautéed onions, ground cumin, pumpkin oil, and vegetable stock. After bringing to a boil, add in some double cream, and you’re good to go!
Another option to use up your spare, uncarved pumpkins would be to fry up a simple dish of pumpkins with chestnuts and onions. If this dish sounds bland, have no fear—a healthy dose of fresh thyme, ground nutmeg, and black pepper will add plenty of flavor to this pumpkin surprise.
If fall is turning to winter, there a number of ways you can preserve that sweet pumpkin taste for your enjoyment over the coming months. Rummage around your pantry for a sealable jar or two, as you’ll definitely need them to store the amazing pumpkin and orange chutney you’re about to make. Along with this dish’s main ingredients, you’ll need a few specialty ingredients such as apple vinegar, star anise, and a couple chili peppers. And, of course, as with any good chutney, you’ll need a healthy dose of sugar to make sure it lasts the winter!
After bringing all the ingredients to boil, you’ll need to let this pot of goodness simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes before transferring it to your eagerly waiting jars. If you store your chutney in a cool, dry place, you’ll be able to enjoy the sweet taste of pumpkin all through the oncoming winter. And if you’re able to resist, you might even have some left for the forthcoming summer!
Fun for the whole family
If there’s one aspect of Halloween that parents love, it’s the time they get to spend with their children crafting costumes and venturing around the neighborhood collecting candy. But to really make the most of this time of year, why not employ the helping hands of your children in the kitchen to whip up some fun, child-friendly recipes?
One great example is a creepy jelly. Not only is it fun to make, but it tastes great! Boil up some lemon jelly and divide between a number of glasses. Once it’s set, get your children to place jelly bats, worms, or other spooky gummy candy into the glasses. Scary, right?
Another classic Halloween recipe that’ll provide fun for the whole family is hot chocolate paired with marshmallows on a stick. Sure, it makes sense to leave the grilling of the marshmallows to the grown ups. But once they’re golden brown, hand them over to the younger members of the family to apply edible food dust for decoration. Serve with a few mugs of hot chocolate and you’re all set!
For one final recipe that children and parents can both enjoy, it’s time to get your hands covered in both flour and pumpkin seeds. You guessed it—this last recipe is for pumpkin cookies, a treat for the whole family to enjoy. Aside from all the usual suspects, you’ll find in any great cookie recipe, you’ll want to add some ground spices to this autumnal dessert dish, including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. For that finishing touch, add some vanilla icing on top of the freshly baked cookies. Your kids are sure to enjoy this Halloween-themed dessert.