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The versatile pumpkin

Halloween is approaching and there are several pumpkins in the house. £1 each for a pumpkin seems a bargain to me considering that as well as entertainment we are looking at providing seeds for next year as well as seeds and flesh for eating. How good is that?

At Halloween we normally cut and hollow the pumpkin shell to make a scary lantern. We must remember to retain the flesh and the seeds from this as this pulp usually ends up being thrown out in the UK. Most of us don’t use pumpkins beyond Halloween. Don’t ask me why as pumpins are full of vitamins and are good for you. Another weapon in a preppers store of food.

You can eat every part of the pumpkin, including the skin. You leave the stalk in while it is being stored and it can store up to 6 months in a cool dark place. Pull the stalk out when ready to eat and everything else is edible.

Try these;

You could eat it raw if you wanted. Skin will be tough though. Seeds will be bitter but edible.

Or easily cook it this way; ensure there is a hole where the stalk is. If not stick a knife in a twice at the top near the stalk base. Put the entire pumpkin into the oven and cook at 180C for an hour, or until a knife will easily go in. Open it up and tuck into the flesh and eat the baked seeds, skin will also be edible but chewy.

Or open it up uncooked. Separate the flesh, the skin and the seeds.

Dry the seeds off with a paper towel to remove any pulp and residual damp. Flavour if desired with salt, pepper and add a bit of oil and bake in an oven for an hour at 120C. Ready to eat.

Take the flesh and cook in an oven at 180C until you can put a fork in the flesh. usually about 40 minutes. You can then mash this in a liquidiser or with a potato masher and use as a filling.

You can use the flesh to make soups, pies and even bread. Already cooked flesh requires less cooking time and can be stored for five days in the fridge.

Finally, the skin. The skin is edible but like many crops with hard skin it is too tough for enjoyment. However you can liquidise the skin it can be used as normal flesh. There is an article where someone cooked the skin to make crisps. Cooked in hot oil similar to potato slices. I tried and failed but I’m no chef and there may be a technique. Anyone know?

One other consideration. Pumpkin seeds have medicinal uses. Soak the seeds for three hours then throw the water, mix with honey and soy milk. Blend them together until a smoothie is made and consume this three times a day for three days. This helps with internal parasites.

There are many pumpkin recipes on the web. Most from US sites as this is yet another food overlooked by the UK. Try eHow Food for some good pumpkin recipes.

Myself, I’m looking at planting some pumpkin seeds for next year.

From March to May, fill a three inch pot with compost. Put a pumpkin seed on its side on the top and push in so it is covered. There are a lot of seeds in each pumpkin so you should have plenty. Put in a greenhouse or on a windowsill until established. In May put them into the ground in a sunny sheltered spot. You can also plant more seeds directly outside at that time to give a longer growing period for this versatile crop.

There is one issue though that you need to be aware of. Pumpkins can grow big and they are bright colours. Easily recognisable and an OPSEC risk so take care if growing them.

I need a bigger garden.

3 comments to The versatile pumpkin

  • fred

    There was a time pumpkins were seen as pig swill but they’ve certainly come up in the world.

  • Kenneth Eames

    Thank you for this information. Apart from the use for parasites and prostate health I’ve never considered Pumpkins as a food. I will certainly buy a Pumpkin for the seed and use them in a survival situation. I will cook one when I next go camping. Kenneth Eames.

  • Skean Dhude

    Working on details for this site has opened my eyes a lot. I’ve looked at many things I have not been bothered about before.

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