There's much more to pumpkins than the fun of carving at Halloween.
They work equally well in sweet or savoury dishes and they're packed with nutrients.
Find out more about pumpkins and how to enjoy them.
- In Season?
- British pumpkin season starts in October and ends at the end of December, although once harvested they can keep for months if properly stored.
- Choose a pumpkin that is a strong orange colour, with no cuts to the flesh (these allow bacteria in).
It should be firm and sound hollow when tapped.
Don't necessarily go for the biggest pumpkins - they tend to be watery with very little flavour. If you want to really enjoy your pumpkin, smaller tends to be better.
- Pumpkins can keep for months, but at home they're best kept somewhere dark, cool and airy and checked every few days. They tend to rot on the part in contact with the shelf, so change their position whenever you check them.
- Obviously, you can remove the insides to carve the pumpkin, by slicing off the top and using a large spoon.
However, if your aim is to cook the pumpkin, rather than carve it, then chop it in four and cut out the seeds and then the flesh.
Cut the flesh into cubes and steam or boil in a little water until tender.
Pumpkins absorb flavours well, particularly cinnamon and nutmeg, for sweet dishes, or sage and rosemary for savoury meals.
More Pumpkin InformationPumpkins are a member of the squash family, along with butternut squash and gem squash.
When growing, pumpkins are dark green, and they only turn orange when they ripen.
Believe it or not, these massive fruits actually hang off the plant on which they grow!
Pumpkins are sweet with a delicate, earthy flavour. They are a good source of beta-carotene (hence their orange colour), which the body converts to Vitamin A.
The seeds are also edible and are an excellent source of Omega oils.
If you fancy having a go at a Halloween pumpkin carving, we've found a great website that you'll love.
It's run by Louise Riley from North Devon, who is a passionate pumpkin-carver! She provides inspirational pictures of carved pumpkins, to help get you started. Go to Bumpkin Pumpkins to find out more. Did you know...?
"Pumpkin" carving at Halloween is an ancient Celtic ritual. But they used to carve turnips. It was only in the 1800s that pumpkins became more widely available in the UK and took their place.
|Pumpkin, Sage And Pine Nut Ravioli|
|This is a variation on a classic autumnal Italian dish. It takes a while to prepare, but it's so delicious, it's worth the effort. Pumpkin, sage and pine nuts are a combination destined to go together...|
Serves 4 as a starter
Serve as a starter or turn into a main dish by adding a large salad or lightly steamed green veggies.
- Aoki Sweetcorn & Chilli Butternut Squash
I discovered this delicious recipe when I was living with a Japanese family in Argentina! It seems to be a mix of both cultures. It works well with squashes or pumpkin and is delicious served with the red cabbage salad. You can use pumpkin instead of squash, if you prefer.
- Autumn Vegetable Stir Fry
This is a quick and easy way of using up any leftovers in your autumn veg box. We've listed the ingredients we most commonly use, but you can adapt this recipe to suit whatever you've got spare.
- Baked Butternut Squash
This recipe works equally well with butternut squash or pumpkin. It can go in the oven while you're cooking the rest of your meal and the roasting causes the sugars to caramelise, giving the squash an even sweeter flavour.
- Blue Cheese Baked Fennel
Roasted fennel is a great way of serving this vegetable, if you don't fancy it raw. By adding a blue cheese and seed topping, you're turning into so much more than a side dish.
Grind the seeds well in a coffee grinder, to form a breadcrumb-like texture.
If you don't have a grinder, you can pound them with a pestle & mortar or just chop them.
This recipe is delicious with a delicate blue cheese and works well with Dolcelatte or Cambozola. Avoid stronger cheeses such as Danish Blue or Stilton, as they could overpower the flavour of the fennel.
- Brussel Sprouts Salad
Fresh, young sprouts work well in this raw salad. The sweetness of Balsamic vinegar gives it a delicious twist and the pumpkin seeds and pine nuts give it a nutty crunch.
- Butterbean and Pumpkin Seed Dip
The pumpkin seeds and sunflower oil mean this dip is packed with healthy omega fatty acids, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. The butterbeans give it a protein-packed, creamy texture and the lemon juice gives it a real lift. And the best bit is it only takes a few minutes to make!
- Butternut Squash & Almond Cake
Yes, you read it right! We do mean cake. Squashes are sweet and creamy in texture when cooked, meaning they work beautifully to puddings. Works well with any squash or pumpkin.
- Butternut Squash / Pumpkin Puree
This butternut squash recipe (also great with pumpkin) is incredibly simple and makes a great weaning food for little ones. Or you can serve it as a side vegetable for older eaters!
- Creamed Pumpkin With Sage
This started out as an experiment, but soon became a family favourite. It works best with fresh sage, added at the end of cooking. Delicious!
- Creamy Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili
We've been given permission to share this recipe with you by Waverly Fitzgerald, author of Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life and creator of the semi-monthly e-newsletter Living in Season, which shows how to bring the beauty of the current season into our lives with ideas for simple actions, seasonal recipes and easy projects, plus recommendations for books and other resources.
We love Waverly's resources and inspirations, and we love this recipe too.
- Creamy, Roasted Butternut Squash
I invented this recipe by accident whilst roasting a butternut squash for lunch a couple of weeks ago. I had half a tub of cream left in the fridge and wondered what would happen... The result is delicious. Great with any squash or pumpkin.
- Early Courgette Salad
Early courgettes are packed with flavour and are a real treat, whereas later in the season you may be fed up with them! So here’s a recipe to help you enjoy them with in-season broccoli.
- Fennel And Carrot Coleslaw
If you enjoy the slightly aniseed taste of fennel, then you’ll love this coleslaw. If you’re not yet convinced, then rest assured that the carrots and other ingredients temper the aniseed and you might actually find you enjoy fennel!
- Fruity Porridge
Porridge isn’t just a great way to start the day, it also makes a great meal at lunchtime or for a late supper. By adding dried fruits and seeds, you’re giving yourself a real boost of slow release carbohydrates and essential fatty acids.
- Honest to Goodness' Cinnamon Roasted Seasonal Vegetables
This recipe was donated to us by Paul at our 'Scouse Veg' friends, "Honest To Goodness" who contacted us to be added to our free directory of vegbox providers.
We love how simple this is, and we love the cinnamon variation on roasting whatever's in season.
- Jo Pratt’s Thai Pumpkin and Tenderstem® Red Curry
This recipe has been generously provided for us by Jo Pratt, courtesy of Tenderstem Broccoli..
Although Jo uses pumpkin, you could easily substitute in any Winter or Summer squash that happens to be in season.
- Mushroom And Butterbean Stir Fry
This is a lovely 5-minute lunchtime snack.
- Pumpkin & Parsnip Cassoulet
This delicious vegetarian take on a classic recipe, was kindly provided by Foodari. We can't wait to have it again!
- Pumpkin / Squash and Carrot Soup
This delicious squash soup is vibrant orange and warms up any autumn or winter's day. It works equally well with pumpkin or an orange-fleshed squash and is really easy to make - as well as tasty.
- Pumpkin Or Butternut Squash Soup
This is a great autumn lunchtime soup. We end up making it on Saturday lunchtimes, usually when it's raining! It really is as simple as chop the veggies, cook them in the butter, add the stock and then leave it.
- Pumpkin Pie
This classic North American dessert was sent in by Gramma Julie. Over the years, she's developed short cuts that make this pumpkin pie as easy as possible.
- Pumpkin Soup with Cocunut Milk and Curry
A delicious pumpkin soup recipe with a twist! This recipe has been shared with us by the lovely people at eatdrinkbetter.com.
Like us, they provide a resource to help people to make sustainable food choices and lead a healthier lifestyle.
We also found this wonderful article about squashes on their site. We're particularly intrigued by the Cinderella Pumpkin!
Enjoy the recipe!
- Pumpkin, Sage And Pine Nut Ravioli
This is a variation on a classic autumnal Italian dish. It takes a while to prepare, but it's so delicious, it's worth the effort. Pumpkin, sage and pine nuts are a combination destined to go together...
- Pureed Swede With Cheesy Crust
Many people are put off by childhood memories of swede – often confused with turnip. Yet its yellow-orange flesh can be delicious. This recipe tops pureed swede with a crunchy cheese and seed crust, to add some variety and extra vitamins. Also works well with turnip, parsnip or celeriac.
- Simple, Steamed Squash Or Pumpkin
This is quick and simple way of using butternut squash or pumpkin as a side dish.
- Squash / Pumpkin, Shallot And Sage Roast
Quick and simple - a delicious way of cooking autumn shallots and squash or pumpkin.
- Squash Puree
This squash recipe (also great with pumpkin) is incredibly simple and makes a great weaning food for little ones. Or you can serve it as a side vegetable for older eaters!
- Thai Style Squash Curry
This curry is easy to make and pretty quick. Just make the paste, chop the veggies and cook it all in a wok (or large frying pan) with the coconut milk. Works well with pumpkin, too.
- Warming Pumpkin Soup
This recipe was sent in to us by Shanny, who says "Delicious. I usually bake a loaf of bread in the breadmaker and have fresh warm bread with the soup. I put the bread on to cook in the morning as it takes 2.5 hrs and then make the soup for lunch as it only takes about 20 mins to cook. Great when you have friends over for lunch or a big family gathering."
Got one? Send us your recipe!
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