Pumpkins have been associated with Halloween for a long time, but there is a magic moment when you grow your own massive pumpkin fruit. My father introduced me to pumpkin growing when I was about ten years old hoping to get me interested in a spot of gardening. However the soils left over from the builders in the new St. Mary’s housing estate was not all that clever and without any additional manure or compost the resultant tennis ball sized pumpkins did not impress anyone. However fathers, peas, turnips, lettuce, radish and cabbages plus strawberries and raspberries helped to give me the gardening bug.
Twenty years later it was my
turn as by then I had my own garden and a huge allotment with plenty access to
manure, leaf mould and compost, and with two young daughters to entertain, many
hours were spent on the plot growing, planting and harvesting all sorts of
vegetables and fruit. Wendy had the responsibility of making sure her sunflower
reached as high into the sky as possible
whereas Val took on the task of
growing a huge pumpkin. This did not get picked till Halloween and then the
task of creating a scary lantern took a fair bit of time. As darkness descended
the lantern turned spooky, but my young lady got so much fun from the event
that she performs this ritual annually though now she has her own young
daughter to teach the skills of creating spooky lanterns.
I think I have grown pumpkins as part of the normal range of fruit and vegetables to be grown on an allotment or garden for food. They are also a great challenge as when your patch of five or six orange balls starts to swell up into massive pumpkins the garden gets noticed.
|Val's first pumpkin|
As all my family have flown the nest our pumpkins are food (not lanterns) as over the years Anna has tested out numerous recipes to use up our pumpkins, so we just love this taste of autumn. My favourite is still roasted
pumpkin slices sprinkled with
some seasoning and nutmeg, and then drizzled with honey at serving. Pumpkin
soup, risotto, pumpkin pie, pasta and cakes
and the puree can be used in
numerous dishes and surplus frozen for future use. However pumpkins can be
stored for four to five months in a cool utility room. Pumpkins as well as
being very tasty are just full of healthy goodness packed with fibre, and
vitamins A and C and minerals. Seeds can be roasted and eaten, but do not save
them for sowing in case they have been cross pollinated by bees visiting nearby
courgettes, or you will end up with weird courgette shaped pumpkins.
|Roast pumpkin slices|