Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The humble pumpkin...

Whilst I sit twiddling my thumbs waiting to hear about a larger allotment plot I thought I'd write a post about pumpkins, perhaps not the most exciting of vegetables but hey ho.

This year was a good year for pumpkins, we grew the largest two we've ever managed on our allotment and oddly we weren't even trying, happy accidents you might say.

Here are the largest two of this years pumpkins -

We were pleased with them.
I had thought we weren't going to get any large pumpkins this year, we lost a load of plants to marauding slugs and had to sow more, and as a result by the time some of our other pumpkin plants were growing fruit we had some plants that were showing no signs of doing anything productive at all.

And then around the middle of August I noticed these two small pumpkins, on separate plants - 

Small, about grapefruit/melon size here.

At this point I thought, well it's late in the season so they probably won't come to much, but I'll leave them anyway, by the end of August start of September they had grown a fair bit, the one by the fence had grown quite a lot, it went from being grapefruit sized to watermelon sized in a couple of weeks and the other one was about the same size.

Fence pumpkin - 

Larger than it looks.

The other one - 

Again larger than it looks.

A month later when I picked them they had gotten considerably larger, I haven't done anything special with them, just plenty of water and sunshine (you can also use tomato food on them) and that's it, and in the space of about six weeks they went from grapefruit/melon sized to weighing 25.5kg between the two of them, the largest is 13.5kg and the smaller one 12kg, they can grow very quickly if they get plenty of sun and water.

Harvest time, I had to use my bike trailer - 

A good haul.

Currently we have a kitchen full of pumpkins (and other squash) they will all get used, we've started processing some of them already, the one we carved for Halloween has been made into puree and frozen for soups and pies (and anything else we can think of) a couple have been turned into relish made by my wife some of the puree was used in the flat breads my wife makes as well, and we roasted the seeds with some olive oil and spices, they make a great snack.

Pumpkins are very useful, did you know that around 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin gets thrown away each year in the UK after Halloween ? and why ? they can be eaten so why throw it away ?

The internet is awash with recipes and ideas for what to do with pumpkins and squashes.

Here's a list of things we do with pumpkins, 

Puree for soup
Cut up in stews, and curries
Pumpkin pie
Roasted with the spuds for Sunday dinner
Pumpkin flat breads
Pumpkin relish
Pumpkin wine, which is very nice even if I do say so myself
Grated into a shepherds pie or a chilli, makes the mince go further
Pumpkin muffins (kids love them, probably because they are sweet)
Seeds roasted for a nice healthy snack

And pumpkins have numerous health benefits and they are very high in vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, vitamin A and calcium and iron and they are a fun to grow, kids get a kick out of watching them get bigger.

So rather than chucking your pumpkins in the bin after Halloween why not try to use them, after all you are throwing food away, and if you don't want to use them see if anyone in your area is running a pumpkin/squash rescue event where you can donate your pumpkins and know they'll be used to help someone who is perhaps a little less fortunate than you, it has to be better than chucking them away.

In the mean time we'll be finding uses for this lot - 

This isn't all of them.

Thanks for reading.

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