31st October 2020
It’s Halloween! Time for ghosts and ghouls, witches and wizards, trick or treating and jack-o-lanterns made of pumpkins. Whilst, Covid may have cast its “spell” on much of the Halloween traditions beyond the home, people are taking it inside. Pumpkins have been “flying” off the shelves in the supermarkets and there is even a pop-up pumpkin market in Covent Garden. Indeed it seems, 2020 is the year of the Halloween pumpkin! But there are more to pumpkins than the fabulous jack-o-lanterns created with the hard skins - pumpkins are seriously good news for nutrition. The flesh is nutrient dense, containing an array of vitamins and minerals whilst still measuring just 20Kcal per 100g. They are a great source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A - helping you see in the dark (pretty useful at Halloween!). It also helps colour vision, promotes healthy skin, bone development and immune function. Along with Vitamins C and E (also contained in pumpkins), Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant which protects DNA from oxidative damage which has been linked to some cancers. Meanwhile, the Vitamin C in pumpkins is also good for the growth, development and repair of body tissues - an effective wound healer. So what I’m really saying is don’t discard the pumpkin flesh when you make your Halloween lanterns! Pumpkins are good for you but also taste great and are an incredibly versatile ingredient which are just as good in sweet as savoury dishes. You could make a trusty pumpkin soup for the cold autumnal nights, or roast it in the oven, or even join our friends in the USA with a slice of pumpkin pie… don’t overdo it on the sugar though as it has plenty of natural sweetness already! Enjoy!!