In season: Pumpkin
Qwerty chef de cuisine Giles Pritchard talks about pumpkins
What’s great about pumpkins?
The really exciting thing about pumpkins is that they are very a robust vegetable and can be used in a variety of ways. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, seeds, leaves and even the flowers. They are one of the most inexpensive veggies out there and provide excellent nutritional value. They are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. The seeds are packed full of serotonin producing tryptophan, contributing to that feel-good feeling.
What should you look out for when buying this ingredient?
Pumpkins come in all different shapes and sizes. I would pick a pumpkin with un-damaged skin. Bright orange skin as greener looking ones may never ripen. I prefer choosing smaller ones for cooking due to the sweetness and attractiveness when serve whole.
Any challenges with using it?
Large pumpkins can be very labour-intensive to prepare for cooking purely because of the size. Removing the skin can be quite hard if you don’t have good knife skills.
What’s the best way to use it?
Roasting is the simplest and easiest way to cook pumpkins. Chefs like myself however like using them for fine purées as they have the perfect texture and vibrant colour. They are really good in salads and soups but in the Middle East and America you can find them in desserts too.