Food

Focused Foodie: Pumpkin

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The beginning of autumn is no longer signified by when the leaves fall off the trees, or when the nights get darker. Instead, we know that summer is officially over when we see the menu in Starbucks change, and again arrives the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, Mocha Praline Frappuccino and, of course, the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This Wednesday, Sutton Bonington campus are having a pumpkin picking day at Wymeswold Fruit Farm, or you can hunt down some pumpkin farms in the Nottingham area.

Unconsumed and undervalued all year round, this giant orange squash is suddenly everywhere; carved with spooky faces on our doorsteps, pumpkin scents filling our rooms from Yankee candles and even appearing in our coffee. So please, let’s take a moment of appreciation for the humble pumpkin.

 

Pumpkins have been around for 5,000 years and there are 45 different variations, ranging in colour from the classic orange to green or even blue! They are grown all over the world (except Antarctica – it’s a bit chilly) and pumpkin flavoured product sales total almost £500 million annually, with 80% of these sales happening in October alone! With pumpkin pie being the 2nd favourite dessert in America, it’s safe to say this large squash is here to stay.

So, what can we Notts students do to make the most of the pumpkin’s short-lived moment of glory? This Wednesday, Sutton Bonington campus is having a pumpkin picking day at Wymeswold Fruit Farm, or you can hunt down some pumpkin farms in the Nottingham area. The closest is Maxey’s farm – it’s about an hour away by public transport. (Or if you’re feeling lazy just pop into the big Tesco’s at Beeston and buy a pumpkin there).

this fruit is actually a super healthy addition to your diet; it’s loaded with vitamin A

Then, organise a very wholesome ‘hot chocolate and pumpkin carving night’ with your house to really get into the autumnal mood. Alternatively, if you (like me) are very lazy with Halloween costumes, simply buy yourself an orange dress or top, some orange and green glitter and cute accessories, and hit up Crisis dressed as a lovely seasonal ingredient.

Speaking of food, don’t throw away all the pumpkin goodness after you carve it. Easy pumpkin recipes include simply washing the seeds and then roasting them with oil, sugar and cinnamon in the oven for around 30 minutes for the perfect porridge topper, or with paprika and salt if you want to add them to savoury dishes.

The gooey insides can be scooped out and blended to make a puree and then used in so many dishes. For example, as the base to a chickpea curry (just add stock and coconut milk to the pumpkin puree, then add whatever spices and vegetables you would like), stirred into porridge with cinnamon and mixed spices to make a super comforting breakfast – or even just mix it into some store bought hummus, for the perfect autumnal dip.

And what’s even better is that this fruit is actually a super healthy addition to your diet; it’s loaded with vitamin A. Just one cup will provide over and above your recommended daily intake; perfect for strengthening your immune system and fighting away the last of fresher’s flu, aided by the fact it also contains a lot of vitamin C. It is also high in fibre, which is something most of us are lacking, and contains carotenoids and other antioxidant compounds, which may provide long term heath benefits regarding cancers and heart disease. 

Really, there is no excuse not to make the most of pumpkin season, because before you know it the Starbucks menu will change and then we’ll have to wait a whole year until we can order our favourite Starbucks drink again.

Katy Skillen

Sources used:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a22544/facts-about-pumpkins/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin

Featured image courtesy of Caleb Bailey via Flickr. Image license found here

Article image courtesy of Brian Jackson via Flickr. Image license found here

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