Remember the age-old tale of Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage? It turns out that the magical gourd that delivered her to the prince wasn't a completely impossible fantasy. While we still can't ride around in glamorous pieces of fruit, the size which the pumpkin was transformed into is an actual possibility. Don't believe us? The current world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown rests at a hefty 1,810 lbs. Just imagine how many pumpkin pies that could make...
Pumpkins require quite a bit of time harvesting and are usually planted at the beginning of May. Their peak ripeness occurs in Autumn, just in time for Thanksgiving and Halloween. When selecting a pumpkin, choose one that is colourfully deep orange with outer skin that shows resistance when pressing into it with a nail.
Protected with a thick outer layer of skin, pumpkins are best stored at room temperature until cut or carved. After this point, the inner pumpkin fruit should be stored in an air tight container and refrigerated for prolonged freshness. And yes, we know, the age-old qualm of calling a pumpkin a fruit still exists!
One of the greatest things about a pumpkin is that almost every part can be used and enjoyed in some way. The pumpkin itself makes for an excellent ingredient when cooked into a puree, roasted into a mash, baked into pasta and (of course) used in a pie. The seeds found on the inside also act as a delicious snack when removed and placed on a baking sheet to roast with oil and salt for extra flavour. The possibility to be creative with your dishes is endless when using pumpkin, making cooking an adventurous and unexpectedly exciting process!
It's not just the tale of Cinderella that makes reference to the pumpkin as something more significant than a delicious ingredient. This magical food has been referenced in many fables, fiction and folklore like Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas, R.L. Stine's short story Pumpkin Juice, and of course, the traditional act of carving out a jack-o-lantern on Halloween with the purpose of warding off demons.