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My autumn-inspired meal plan includes pumpkins often at this time of year turned into Halloween lanterns but what about the flesh…the meal plan contains so much more than soup!!

What are pumpkins?

Pumpkins are the most famous of all the winter squashes.  Inside the hard orange or yellow skin, the bright orange flesh is sweet and honied. They are a particularly good source of fibre, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals.

When are pumpkins in season?

British season runs from October to December.

Nutrition per 100g

Carbohydrate 7g / Fat 0.1g / Protein 1g plus: Vitamin K (Potassium) 84mg / Calcium 23mg / Vitamin A (Carotene) 955ug / Vitamin E 1.6ug / Vitamin C 7mg

Choosing the best pumpkins!

Go for ones that feel heavy for their size, with smooth and firm skin. Smaller pumpkins tend to have more flesh. (1)

How to prepare pumpkins

As pumpkins have very tough skins, some hard graft is needed to get into them. Put the squash on a thick tea towel to keep it steady, then use a large strong knife to cut it in half. It can be heavy going, so work in sections until you reach the bottom. If the skin is particularly thick, you may need to hammer the knife in with a rolling pin. Once one side is cut, turn the pumpkin round, and cut down on the other side, until it’s split in two. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy parts. If the pumpkin is particularly big, cut it into quarters then, using a small, sharp knife, pare off the skin (unless you plan to roast it, in which case the skin can stay on). Then cut into chunks or wedges as required. (2)

How to store pumpkins

Kept in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place, it will keep for several weeks. Once cut, it should be kept an airtight container in the fridge, where it will keep for around a week. (3)

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References (1) (2) and (3) source BBC Good Food

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