Smudge Eats: Pumpkin

[Originally published on Smudge Eats, April 2016]

Seasonal Eats: Pumpkin

Those who think pumpkins are simply something to carve a scary face into at Halloween are seriously missing out.

Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that comes up sweet and creamy in texture, and it’s suitable to be thrown into everything from salads and curries, to soups and pasta. As we look forward into the colder months, it’s a comforting addition to our winter meals.

How to Buy

Pick firm pumpkins with no cuts or blemishes. Smaller varieties are better for cooking with, in contrast to the ones you usually buy for Halloween. The smaller they are, the sweeter they tend to be, with creamier flesh inside. They should feel heavy for their size.

How to Store

Pumpkins are a great buy because they can be stored at room temperature for up to a month. Once cut keep them wrapped in the fridge, or in an airtight container if it’s been cooked.

How to Cook

Pumpkin is best cooked in the oven, where the flavour will develop and it will soften slowly. Cut into cubes or wedges, season with spices and cinnamon, sprinkle with oil, and roast. It’s delicious like this, paired with other vegetables and even some falafel in a wrap. Alternatively roast them a little then pop on top of a pizza and grill.

Once roasted they can then be served warm, or chilled in a salad with goats’ cheese or halloumi, walnuts, lots of leaves, and drizzled with honey. Pumpkin is also delicious in soups and curries, or even a curried soup! They go very well with carrots and lentils in these dishes.

Diced pumpkin is great with chilli and black beans, in pasta and risotto with parmesan or ricotta, or thrown into a blender to make a unique hummus. Lastly, don’t forget to make the most of any large seeds by throwing them in the oven with some salt and oil to create a healthy alternative to popcorn.

------------

Illustration by Carla McRae
Words by Camilla Sampson

FoodCamilla Sampson