Pumpkins are Cool!
chop them up at Hallowe’en, used in soups, pies
and stuffed, pumpkins make a delicious addition to our
autumn menus. Fiona Lawrenson spills the beans
I’ve seen grown men cry over the sight of a giant
pumpkin, and serious money can be won and lost on these
amazing vegetables. If you don’t feel up to growing
show-standard pumpkins, but fancy making your own Hallowe’en
lantern or, more in my line, a delicious, hearty soup,
then take note. Pumpkins are cool and in vogue.
Firstly, these giant vegetables are not hardy,
so plant out after all risk of frost has passed. Find
yourself an open and sunny site with soil that is moisture
retentive, well drained, has a neutral to slightly acidic
level and is rich in nutrients (so plenty of well
Pumpkins are not the easiest vegetables to grow from
seed indoors as they can be difficult to transplant,
so sow in situ a couple of weeks before the last expected
frosts. A tip: to encourage fast germination,
soak the seeds in water overnight then place two to
three seeds, in the same location, at a depth of one
inch. Raise a circular ridge of soil around them, as
this will enable the water to be retained in the surrounding
hollow. Place a jam jar over the seeds to act as a mini
Once these have germinated, thin to one seedling. Pumpkins
are thirsty plants and need plenty of water for the
flowers to set and the fruits to swell.
Good soil preparation should provide enough food, but
if you feel still that it lacks nourishment add a liquid
feed during the time that the plants are swelling.
around the plants as they grow to conserve moisture
and suppress any weeds.
Pumpkins are ready to harvest when the skins are hard
and sound hollow when tapped. They should be harvested
before the autumn frosts. Pumpkins can be stored for
several months in a frost free, cool storage area or
Pumpkin and Bacon Soup
You will need:
700g (1lb 8oz) pumpkin
30g (1oz) butter
1 medium onion
275ml (10fl oz) full fat milk
725ml (1 pint 6fl oz) chicken stock
3 rashers streaky bacon
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion
and bacon – cook for 10 minutes to soften. Add
the chopped pumpkin flesh, stir and add salt and pepper
to taste. Cook, on a low heat, for a further 10 minutes
with the saucepan lid on. Pour in the stock and milk
and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Don’t allow
the mixture to boil. At this stage the pumpkin should
be nice and soft. Pour the mixture into a blender. Blend.
The soup is delicious served warm topped with a swirl
of cream and a sprinkling of ground nutmeg and eaten
with crusty bread.
our Superstore to see its range of pumpkin and other
reprinted with permission from Greenfingers.com