The humble pumpkin has become symbolic in countries around the world: evoking nostalgia for crisp autumn evenings, hearty, comforting bowls of warming food and, of course, signalling the arrival of Halloween. Nowadays pumpkins are at the heart of Halloween celebrations, popping up in windows, gardens and on porches around the globe as the dark evenings roll in, providing a ghostly-yet-welcoming glow.
Hailing from the squash family, the pumpkin is comprised of a thick, ridged outer shell with a vibrant orange hue. Inside, it is full of flesh and pulp and large, flat seeds – a tasty treat in their own right. Nowadays pumpkins are widely grown throughout the world, with Antarctica being the only continent not able to produce pumpkins. The popularity of these chunky little vegetables means that they are grown widely for commercial uses, including for both food and fun purposes!
Pumpkins can be carved into all sorts of fantastical creations. Go traditional and opt for a spooky face with a ghastly grin, or try something more modern and punch lots of tiny holes in your pumpkin to create an ethereal display. If you don’t want to hack away at your precious pumpkin then you could try adorning the outside with paint, ribbons or glitter, to create a totally unique look.
If you’ve had your pumpkin carving fun and don’t want to see your little orange masterpiece go to waste then you’re in luck – as well as making the perfect Halloween lanterns, pumpkins are also delicious! There are tons of tasty things you can do with pumpkin, from soups and stews to curries and even cakes.
How about a super creamy and comforting pumpkin risotto with fragrant fresh sage, or give a traditional pumpkin soup a kick with help from some Asian-inspired flavourings in the form of chilli and coconut. Or, take inspiration from our pals across the pond and experiment with pumpkin pies, a staple part of traditional Thanksgiving meals in the United States. You can even create a pumpkin puree, using the flesh of a pumpkin, to make some tasty seasonal drinks and cocktails, great paired with honey and spices and a splash of whiskey for the grown ups.
Whether you decide to carve it and decorate it to fill your home with Halloween cheer or go straight for the recipe books to create something delicious, pumpkins are the epitome of the autumn season. What will you be doing with yours?