Pumpkins are not just for Halloween

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Pumkins have become very popular in recent years, mainly because of Halloween, but although they are great for carving and making lanterns, they are also good to eat and  have many health benefits.  We produce millions of pumpkins in the UK and are available from September through to Christmas.

For example:

Pumpkin seed oil contains very high levels of natural antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

It is especially high in the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.

Previous research has found the compound can reduce inflammation and protect against some forms of cancer.

Scientists have also found it activates genes involved in preventing the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease.

Low in calories and carbohydrates, there doesn’t seem to be a logical reason why you shouldn’t have pumpkin in you diet. The flavour is quite like sweet potato, you could make the swap if you are trying to lose weight.

I heard just recently that pumpkins are used quite often in Indian food especially at Diwali. I found this recipe for pumpkin pickle from Vivek Singh

Pumpkin pickle

This is my mother’s recipe of a sweet pumpkin pickle and I am a great fan of this rich, sweet and spicy dish with strong flavours. It’s fantastic with parathas and may even be used as a spread in sandwiches or to perk up.

Serves 4

4 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Fenugreek seeds

4 Whole dried red chillies, broken in 2-3 pcs each

700g Peeled and ½ inch Diced pumpkin

1 tsp Turmeric

2 tsp Salt

3 tsp Red chilli powder

5 tbsp Sugar

2 tsp Dried amchoor or Mango pickle masala

 

Method

  1. Peel, dice and wash pumpkin, drain and keep aside.
  1. Heat oil, add fenugreek seeds and dried red chillies and allow to pop.
  1. Add pumpkin and stir over high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  1. Add salt, red chilli powder and turmeric, reduce heat, cover and cook until the pumpkin is soft and begins to get mashed.
  1. Add sugar to give sweetness which balances the heat and spice and also makes the pickle glossy.
  1. Finish with dried amchoor pieces or a couple of tsp of Mango pickle from the bottle.

Tip

This pumpkin pickle makes an excellent accompaniment for game dishes such as grouse or deer etc.

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