With the dark evenings drawing in and Halloween fast approaching, pumpkins appear to be everywhere. Although they are most commonly used for carving at Halloween, pumpkins provide a good source of nutrients and are great to use in cooking for a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. We have put together some interesting pumpkin facts as well as a delicious recipe which you can enjoy this Halloween.
- The name pumpkin originates from the Greek word ‘Pepon’ which means ‘large melon’.
- The average pumpkin weighs around 6kg.
- Pumpkins are not vegetables; they are fruits belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family which also includes cucumber, melon and squash.
- 100g of pumpkin contains just 26 calories.
- Pumpkins are low in FODMAPs making them suitable for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- Pumpkins are rich in Beta Carotene an important antioxidant which is converted into vitamin A and gives pumpkins their bright orange colour. Vitamin A is essential for proper vision and has also been found to reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Pumpkin seeds are a great source of dietary fibre which is important in maintaining a healthy digestive system. 100g of seeds contain 18g of dietary fibre. Pumpkins are also a great source of polyunsaturated fats, and the minerals zinc and magnesium.
Spiced Pumpkin Soup Recipe
- 1 medium sized pumpkin peeled, deseeded and chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 750ml boiling water
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- Handful of coriander
- 300ml pot of reduced fat crème fraiche
- Zest of an orange
- 2 tsp butter or olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Handful of pumpkin seeds (optional)
- Fry the onion and garlic with the butter or oil in a large saucepan until they are slightly soft.
- Add the pumpkin and carrots and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Place the vegetable stock cube in the boiling water and add to the saucepan.
- Cook on a medium to high heat for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin and carrot are soft. Add more water if necessary.
- Remove from the heat, leave to cool for 15 minutes.
- Add the crème fraiche, chilli flakes, paprika, cinnamon, coriander and orange zest and mix together well with a hand blender or in a food processor.
- Top with the pumpkin seeds and serve with warm crusty bread.