Things to do with pumpkins and beetroot at half term

31 Oct

Having an allotment is a lot like being a loyal organic veg box consumer. I remember those heady pre-childcare-sucking-up -most-of-my-wages-North-London days, when I had spare cash for lovely lifestyle choices such as a weekly able and cole box, and near all organic food in my trolley when I frequented the supermarket. Happy days. It did mean though there were points when I had to get very creative with my culinary skills. When kohl rabi or chard was in season I would be googling the best ways to dispose of, I mean eat them.

And so it is with an allotment. You find yourself growing things you would never put in your trolley at the supermarket and then when they are ready you have a large number to get creative with. Like beetroot. I don’t think I have ever knowingly bought a beetroot. It did appear a few times in my organic veg box but after tiring of it I made it one of my permanent do-not-give-me-ever items.

I currently have half a strip’s worth of pumpkins and beetroot to use up. The first thing of course is give them away. Courtesy of Halloween I have been able to palm off a few pumpkins although the second phase crop are quite stunted and still green so they do not make the most impressive things to carve.

The hubby carved one of the better ones last night, the whole kitchen smelt of pumpkin which was not an unpleasant aroma. I had expected there to be lots of left over flesh and had a pumpkin curry recipe ready but all he salvaged was the seeds.

half term pumkins

A carved one and two decorated ones

In the interests of letting nothing go to waste I saved the seeds, some will be dried out for planting next time.

half term seeds

Future seeds

The remaining I roasted for about 20 minutes. The resulting roasted seeds can be snacked on or added to muesli, cakes or bread.

half term roasted seeds half term

Roasted pumpkin seeds – easy and tasty

So seeds used up I moved on to beetroot. I have been trying to get the kids to eat beetroot since the first crop back in June. I have made beetroot soup (their response: yuck, we want tinned tomato soup), beetroot mash (Me: it’s fun, it’s pink! Them: double yuck). Experiences such as these are enough to make me understand why so many parents reach for the turkey twizzlers – it’s the easiest option and we all want the little beggars to eat at the end of the day, cos a hungry child is no fun at all.

A friend, on hearing me lament this beetroot avoidance, suggested beetroot pancakes and bingo! Success at last. It was far easier than soup: just added steamed pulverised beetroot to basic pancake mix and cook. Serve with honey.

half term pancake half term 2

At last something beetrooty the kids will eat

Encouraged by this recent success today we made chocolate and beetroot cake and cupcakes. The end product looked edible. We’d roasted 3 small beetroot and then scooped out the flesh and blended before adding to a bog standard cake recipe with two dessert spoons of drinking chocolate. I don’t think it’d win an award but I had my second beetroot triumph in a week. The kids happily ate them. The lesson probably being children will eat any vegetable going, just add sugar.

half term  cakes

Beetroot and chocolate cupcakes and loaf

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3 Responses to “Things to do with pumpkins and beetroot at half term”

  1. Gill Ridgewell. November 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Wow I’m impressed with your creativity! The cupcakes and loaf cake look delicious. I’ve always thought that beetroot is one of those foods that you never like until you’re an adult – so a real achievement to get them to eat some at the tender ages of 4 and 5 – even if heavily disguised! XX

    • wifi allotment November 6, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks, yes it was heavily disguised. It’s also the only way I have got them to eat courgettes – by hiding it in a cake! Did you try some of the cake today? it’s a bit dry now, I don’t eat much sweet stuff so a cake always lasts ages! Xx

      • Gill Ridgewell. November 8, 2013 at 10:03 am #

        I did try the cake – it was delicious and I would never have known it contained beetroot! xx

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