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They’re giant, grow up over 1,000lbs and this week we’re celebrating Pumpkins!

With Halloween just gone, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate one of the most unique foods the British countryside has to offer, so it’s Pumpkin week at Big Barn.

Pumpkins are seriously big business now in the UK. you’ve probably noticed that farmers grow a field of them and let you come in and pick your own or you’ll see them supplied in the larger shops specifically for Halloween to be carved into Jack O’Lanterns.

It’s surprising then that given pumpkin’s popularity in North America and even in Australia as a food to be eaten, that we pass them up and discard them after our annual creative endeavours are no longer needed.

It’s made even worse by the fact that this nutritious and versatile plant features flowers, seeds and flesh that are all edible and rich in vitamins. Our advice – instead of discarding your poor pumpkin’s innards, use it to make soups, desserts and breads or even the American favourite that you’ll have seen in the films, pumpkin pie.

Needless to say that by now you know it’s not a real food week at Big Barn without some facts, so here are our favourite 7 fun facts about pumpkins:

1. Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.

2. Pumpkin flowers are edible.

Roasted winter veg with squash

3. The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

4. In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.

5. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

6. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.

7. Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

8. Pumpkins are a member of the gourd & squash family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and courgette and are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fibre.

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash

We can’t mention Pumpkins and neglect their cousins, the Squash. Butternut squash, spaghetti squash – all delicious, fantastic for your health and super easy to grow at home. Try growing some and making money with our Crop for The shop initiative. Lots of people are using spaghetti squash as a healthy, and some say, more delicious and nutritious alternative to pasta. Especially those with gluten intolerance.

To discover a farmer or shop growing pumpkins and squash in your area search our local food map . Or, buy online and discover some fantastic products made using pumpkins & squash in MarketPlace

If you have a favourite recipe, then why not share it with us? For the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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