All you ever needed to know about pumpkins

Tuesday 13th October 2015 by Kelly Skipper

Whilst Easter is all about the egg, Autumn and Halloween is all about the pumpkin and with Halloween almost upon us, we thought a few handy tips to impress your mates, colleagues or school teacher before you embark on a spot of trick-or-treating, may be just the ticket and .... as you will find out there is a lot more to the pumpkin than meets the eye.

Firstly, these large orange beauties are a fruit and not a vegetable and are actually a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and courgettes. They are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents. 

Each pumpkin has around 500 seeds and takes around 90-120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in colour. There are over 45 different varieties that range in colour from red and yellow to green, and have names like Hooligan, Cotton Candy, and Orange Smoothie.  Their seeds can be saved to grow pumpkins the following year.

Synonymous with Halloween, the original jack-o'-lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish. Here in the UK they used large beets and lit them with embers to ward off evil spirits. Irish immigrants brought their customs to America, but found that pumpkins were much easier to carve

Pumpkins are made up of 90% water and pack a mean punch when it comes to health and beauty benefits.  They are low in calories, fat and sodium and high in fiber.  They are also good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron. Some of the health benefits include:  aiding weight loss, potential to reduce risk of cancer, protects the skin, aids in keeping eyesight sharp as well as a natural booster for your mood and immune system.

So whether you are baking a pumpkin pie or making your own DIY pumpkin hair conditioner this fruit is all round healthy.