If the only thing you’ve ever done with a pumpkin is carve it and fill it with a candle, you are not alone. Around 95%* of the estimated 10 million pumpkins grown in the UK are carved into spooky Halloween creations. Yet this fruit (yes pumpkins are a fruit as they contain seeds) is packed full of nutritional goodness. Yet only 5%* of us use them to create delicious dishes, from soups to stews and pies.
Being an extremely nutrient dense food, pumpkins are a rich source of fibre whilst very low in calories. Making you feel fuller for longer, they can be a great addition to those winter warmer stews. Pumpkin is also one of the best known sources of beta carotene (which is converted into vitamin A in the body), a powerful anti-oxidant that gives fruit and vegetables their bright colour.
Carve out some tasty snacks
Yet it’s not only the pumpkin that can give you much needed nutrients. What about the hundreds of pumpkin seeds that you collect from carving? Try roasting them up for a quick snack – sprinkle with your favourite spice (Cajun or paprika works well) and bake for 30 minutes. Or sprinkle over your salad or soup for a tasty, nutritional boost.
The seeds are particularly high in protein, iron and B vitamins, and the high zinc content helps to boost your immune system, to help fight viruses and colds.
My top five reasons why you should be eating pumpkins this autumn:
1. Store-house for anti-oxidant vitamins
2. Zinc-packed seeds are a great immune booster to fight off those winter colds
3. Help you feel fuller for longer on fewer calories
4. Versatile ingredient to cook with
5. It’s in season and so at the peak of its nutritional content
Pumpkins are so versatile. Besides the obvious pumpkin pie, you can use them in cakes, breads, cookies, soups and stews. It is believed that Pilgrims used to make beer from pumpkins too but we’ll let you test that one out!
Try it yourself…
Why not have a go at our Roast Pumpkin and Coconut Chickpea Curry recipe by our chef director Lloyd Stoll
For more nutritional facts follow Gabriella on Twitter @gr8_nutrition
*Stat correct as of October 2017. Reference: http://bit.ly/2lwms7T
About BaxterStorey – BaxterStorey provides bespoke hospitality services through restaurants, café bars, deli operations and executive dining rooms for a wide range of customers. Its heritage is built on the culinary expertise and the professional training and development of its people. It employs more than 8,500 people at over 600 locations, and provides food service excellence to clients and customers in business and industry. BaxterStorey’s core principle is to serve the best quality food, sourced and prepared locally using the finest produce. Through its chef and barista academies, it provides focused and dedicated training to front line teams helping them to provide great service and build a career for life. The reach and talent of BaxterStorey’s business enables it to draw on an extensive pool of expertise within the food service sphere in the UK, providing it with a strong foundation to share and distribute best practice both locally and across the country