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They’re here to remind you autumn’s on the way – it’s pumpkin & squash week!

It’s now that time where we get to enjoy lots of bright orange blobs lighting up the UK’s countryside. They’re small rays of brightness as the autumn comes around and it won’t be too long before they’re in our farm shops and supermarkets either!

Over the last few years pumpkins have become bigger and bigger business in the UK and while most farmers usually produce pumpkins specifically for Halloween, to be carved into Jack O’Lanterns, there are still a few which make it through and get eaten – often in soups! It does seems to be a bit of a waste that a perfectly food food that is regularly eaten in Australia and America, with some popularity, is discarded here as off-cuts from your carving.

One thing that’s often overlooked is that this nutritious and versatile plant offers you flowers, seeds and flesh that are all edible and packed full of vitamins. So, instead of discarding your poor pumpkin’s innards, use it to make soups, desserts and breads or even the American favourite, pumpkin pie.

Here’s why they’re brilliant:

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

And while we’ve talked a lot about pumpkins, let’s turn to the humble squash. You’ve got butternut, spaghetti, all delicious, good for you and easy to grow at home. If you’ve still got some time available, why not 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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