LADING

October 17: Pumpkin

Sophie Conran Pick's Pumpkin

I have long been a fan of the mighty pumpkin, perhaps it’s because as children we were always invited to a sensational Halloween party. One year our homemade outfits were green collard, orange tunics topped off with a huge cushion-like pumpkin hat, making us the best dressed and giving me a lifelong affinity with these extraordinary plants. They are incredibly rewarding to grow, having so many beautiful and toothsome varieties that you don’t see in the supermarkets. I really love the way the tendrils curl into springs and how such a tiny seed can cover meters with it’s huge leaves, and that after a hard frost reveal treasure below. There is no other fruit or vegetable that makes such a fine lantern – carved into ghouls to send children squealing with delight and horror, or sculpted into beautiful designs to light up the magical autumn nights. Pumpkins are also exceptional to cook with but often the round orange ones can be a bit wet and fibrous, so seek out ones with firm flesh and a sweet, smooth texture. One of the best is crown prince, distinct with its silver skin, or substitute butternut squash.  What ever squash or pumpkin you choose they are gorgeous simply roasted with the skin left on, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and scattered with cumin seeds or what could be nicer than baked into the spiced and fragrant all American pie, or blended into a silky smooth and golden soup. 

 

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Sophie Conran Pick's Pumpkin