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Hallowe'en cuisine: cooking with pumpkin
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All about the pumpkin

All about the pumpkin

The pumpkin (sometimes called a squash) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae or gourd plant family. Botanically it’s a fruit, but it’s widely regarded as a vegetable in cooking because of how it is eaten. Here’s our guide to the different types around…  

Pumpkins became popular in North America and are a Thanksgiving staple (in pumpkin pie). These pumpkins are round with 5 angular sides, a tough fibrous stalk or peduncle that doesn’t widen out at the bottom where it’s attached to the fruit. They have a smooth hard orange skin and dry, sweet, yellow-orange flesh. These pumpkins are used by chefs all over the world in soups, tarts, flans, ravioli and couscous dishes. They’re also used in puréed form, and of course by kids at Hallowe'en.

European pumpkins are cynlindrical, without angles, and have a softer, spongier stalk or peduncle that widens out at the bottom where it’s attached to the fruit. They have a smooth, hard, red-orange or even dark green skin, and a fine, tastier fruit than the traditional big North American pumpkins. They are also used in soups, tarts, couscous, in puréed form etc, but their soft, sweet flavour also makes them perfect for desserts.


Sarah Horrocks
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