Waste not ... Pumpkin Tom Hunt
I practise a style of cooking that
I call root to fruit. It’s a sustainability philosophy designed to make the most of the ingredients I cook, and to waste nothing. It’s a step on from nose-to-tail eating (ie using the whole animal), and a lot easier to follow. By cooking this way, we get more from our food: more nutrients, more flavour and, perhaps most excitingly, more pleasure. This column is written in that spirit, not just about saving money, but about respecting ingredients and the resources that went into growing them.
Along the way, this approach has led me to discover new techniques, ingredients and recipes, including this pumpkin seed salt, an umami-rich condiment made from pumpkin innards, which are usually discarded. As strange as it may sound, I had been looking for a way to cook pumpkin guts for years, until I came across this traditional Mexican recipe. More recently, I found out that Amass, a Michelinstarred restaurant in Copenhagen renowned for its zero-waste approach, also makes pumpkin seed powder, though they ferment the mixture before roasting it for an extra umami hit.
Pumpkin seed salt
Remove the innards from one pumpkin, including the seeds and stringy bits of flesh, then spread out on a baking tray and roast at 180C/350F/gas 4 for 35-45 minutes, until completely dried out and beginning to brown. Leave to cool, then blend with salt to taste. Use to season vegetables, soups and stews, or as a rub for meat.