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Pumpkin

Pumpkins aren’t just for carving! You can actually eat “carving pumpkins” so when they start appearing as an affordable pile of orange veg in supermarkets around the end of September, do yourself a favour and grab them while they are cheap and in season. If they seem like a lot of faff, the best way to start would be to just cut the whole pumpkin into wedges, drizzle with oil and salt, and roast those wedges in the oven until browning in some spots and softened and super sweet! Their sweetness (and mildness compared to other squashes) is what makes them perfect for kids, and as easy to use in soups, pasta and stews as they are blended into baked goods like a pumpkin bread or pie.
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The tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates back to the Irish and Scottish Celts.  Come the autumn as the evenings became darker they wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they carved faces into vegetables such as turnips and squash and placed inside a light and called them Jack O’Lanterns. 
When the immigrants arrived in America and found a plentiful supply of pumpkins, they soon adopted the pumpkin for carving Jack O’Lanterns. Pumpkins are also great to eat, so next Halloween cook up some pumpkin stew, soup or pie.

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Nutrition

Beta-carotene gives pumpkins their orange colour, similar to carrots. This helps is an antioxidant that our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A after eating. This is essential for healthy skin and eyes and supports and strengthens our immune system.

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Shopping Guide

Why not try your hand as a farmer and harvest your choice of pumpkin directly from a pumpkin patch. This makes for a fun day out with the family too.

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Storage

Pumpkins can last for 3-4 months if properly stored: keep them whole, store them upside-down (stalk-side down) in a cool place, and ideally on a piece of cardboard rather than directly on the floor. Once cut, store pumpkin wrapped or sealed tightly in the fridge for a few days.

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Serving Suggestions

All parts of our beloved pumpkins are actually edible, this means you can eat the seeds, leaves, skin and flowers.

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Seasonality

Buying veg in season is not only great for the planet, it can be good for your wallet, too! Seasonal veg are often cheaper and frequently taste better, so can be a better time to try with a child as the often sweeter, riper taste is more enjoyable.

Coming In:

September

At Its Best:

October - December

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Engage

Here are some of our favourite ways to engage kids with pumpkins:

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Your Food

Find your go-to meals in our family favourites section and see what veggies work best with them.

We’ve gathered together 15 of the nation’s favourite meals and given you step-by-step ways to make small improvements, helping you to make healthier dinners the easy way, and even showing you which veg work best with which recipes.
 
Find out how to add more veg to your suppers here.
 

Recipes

rice and beans

Rice & Beans

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Family Favourites

veg tagine

Veg Tagine

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Family Favourites

Chilli con Carne

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Family Favourites

Stew

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Family Favourite

Spaghetti Bolognese

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Family Favourites

More Recipes
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If You Like Pumpkin…Try

Does your child enjoy pumpkin? That’s great! Pumpkin is usually soft and sweet, so why not try a similar texture and/or taste…

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Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it!

The first thing to do is remove the pressure. If the veg doesn’t get eaten, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other days, other dinners, other chances. Fun is key here – try not to worry about mess, perfect table manners, or playing with food. Instead, focus on making the process of getting the food to the plates, readying the table, and the actual eating relaxed.

The best principles for success here are the Three Rs (role modelling, rewarding, re-offering) which you can read about here.

But there is one more way you can serve for success, and that is giving your child a role. You don’t have to do this every time, just encourage them in their strengths through it when you can.

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Design a menu

Come up with a silly name or story for a dish

Help with making a meal plan and choosing veg for dinners or snacks

Help to serve up the meal on dishes, lay the table or create a centrepiece to be involved in the physical ‘serving up’ process.

The Wonderful World of Veg

Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

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