Sweet, orange-fleshed pumpkins occupy a place on the hall table in many homes this time of year. Scooping out Halloween pumpkin faces means buckets of fun and buckets of entrails from the vast Cinderella famed vegetable – remember her carriage! Seasoning the toasted seeds can cause a few arguments afterwards – some like them hot –chilli flakes or paprika, some not!

pumpkin-kidTry the flavour of the flesh in curries and stews. Edible pumpkins (check your variety) can be combined with very simple flavours or blended with Middle Eastern or Indian spices to produce exotic, warming dishes. If you want to see how versatile they are, make a carrot cake using pumpkin flesh instead. Yum…

Pumpkins and squashes are a source of vitamin A, in particular beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant vitamin.  Since they are largely composed of water, pumpkins are very low in calories, with an average serving containing around 10 calories.

Both pumpkin and butternut squash are versatile types of winter squash that can be sautéed, mashed or used in your favourite soups and curries.

Here’s a winner this time of the year.

Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

Note – Fresh ginger is a great addition to many vegetable soups. In this recipe, it gives the pumpkin flavour a real lift.

Serves 4: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, finely chopped, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 2.5cm (1 inch) piece root ginger, peeled and grated, 650g (4 cups) peeled and chopped pumpkin flesh, 850ml (3 cups) vegetable stock

Sweat the onions gently in the olive oil for 5 mins, add the onion, garlic, ginger and pumpkin and cook for 5 mins more. Add the water or stock and simmer for 15-20 mins, until the pumpkin is tender. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor and thin with a little extra stock, water or milk if necessary.

Nutrition per portion (80g) Calories Fat (g) Sat Fat (g) Sugars (g) Fibre (g) Salt (g) Other
Pumpkin 10 0.2 0.1 1.4 0.8 0 High in carotene (360ug)
Source of Vitamin C (11mg)