National Pumpkin Day
What better time of year than October to celebrate the humble pumpkin?
With Halloween upcoming, pumpkins can be found in their masses in shops up and down the country, ready to be taken home and carved to commemorate the spooky holiday. However, pumpkins aren’t just a Halloween accessory.
National Pumpkin Day is celebrated on the 26th of October every year. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about pumpkins, from their health benefits to some delicious pumpkin recipes and how we’ve been growing our own organic pumpkins in our Market Garden.
Pumpkins are packed full of vitamins (including vitamin C and vitamin E), iron and folate which are all great at strengthening your immune system - essential as we enter the colder seasons. They also contain beta carotene, which is an antioxidant that our bodies convert into vitamin A, great for immunity and keeping you healthy in general.
Pumpkins are also rich in fibre, which aids the healthy functioning of our digestive systems. Getting plenty of fibre into your diet is also associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
There are many varieties of pumpkin, part of the gourd family, which also includes squash, courgette and melon. Some varieties are purely decorative, only used for Halloween decorations, however there are numerous varieties that can be eaten as well!
Pumpkins make for an incredibly versatile cooking ingredient that can be incorporated into sweet and savoury dishes. From the quintessentially American pumpkin pie to delicious stews, soups and curries; with pumpkins there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Our Recipe Hub has a number of amazing pumpkin recipes for you to serve up an autumnal feast: Our Autumn Pumpkin Soup is a winner if you’re looking for something warming and wholesome to have for lunch, delicious served with a thick slice of toasted sourdough, spread with butter. For those with a sweeter tooth, try our Pumpkin Muffin recipe, full of spiced autumnal flavours or for a mouth-watering dinner have a go at this Asian style Pumpkin, Prawn and Coconut stew, served with basmati rice and a wedge of lime.
Our Market Garden Pumpkins
Over in our Market Garden, our gardeners have been working hard to have pumpkins ready for Autumn, using all their expert know how. Japanese pumpkins (also known as Kabocha squash) had been planted with seeds harvested from last year’s crop, aligning with our principles of closed loop sustainability, and saving the garden money on seeds!
When growing the pumpkins our gardeners also needed to consider where they planted seedlings to avoid cross-pollination. Our Market Garden uses interplanting to maximise space and encourage biodiversity, however when carrying out this growing method, it’s important to consider the families of plants so that cross-pollination doesn’t occur. As mentioned briefly, courgettes are also part of the gourd family, and so had to be planted far away from the pumpkins to reduce the possibility of cross pollination.
With all this careful consideration, we’ve had an extremely successful yield of pumpkins from our Market Garden this year. These organic pumpkins can be purchased online or in store at any of our farm shops, right in time for Halloween!