So many people discard the inside of their pumpkin when they are carving designs for Halloween.

If the only thing you’ve ever done with a pumpkin is carve and illuminate it, you are not alone. Aside from being an obvious sign that your home welcomes Trick or Treaters, this fruit (yes, pumpkins are technically a fruit because they contain seeds) is also packed full of nutritional goodness and is very versatile in the kitchen.

Pumpkins come in a multitude of all colours, shapes and sizes, including green, yellow, red, white, and even blue! There are countless varieties of pumpkins, and they belong to the same family as squash, cucumber, watermelons and melons: the Cucurbit Family. Depending upon the variety, it takes between 85 and 125 days to grow a pumpkin, and the wait is well worth it!

Pumpkins are an extremely nutrient dense food with the added bonus of being a good source of fibre whilst very low in calories. This means you can feel fuller for longer on fewer calories! Pumpkin is 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, and is reported to combat heart disease.

Be sure not to throw away the seeds as this is possibly where the greatest amount of nutrients are held. Pumpkin seeds are particularly high in protein, iron and B vitamins. The high zinc content in pumpkin seeds helps to boost your immune system, to help fight viruses and colds. Roast them up for a quick snack or sprinkle over your salad or soup for a tasty, nutritional boost.

Top five reason why you should be eating Pumpkin?

  1. Crammed with vitamins
  2. Zinc-packed seeds are a great immunity booster to fight off those winter colds
  3. Helps you feel fuller for longer on fewer calories
  4. Versatile ingredient to cook with
  5. It’s in season and at the peak of its nutritional content

Pumpkins are so versatile and can be used in a number of sweet and savoury dishes. Besides the obvious pumpkin pie, you can also 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! Why not have a go at Pumpkin, Tomato, Coconut and Chickpea Curry recipe by Baxterstorey Chef Director Lloyd Stoll?