The most memorable of the winter squashes - particularly throughout October - pumpkin is a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Instantly recognisable thanks to its vivid orange colour and tough skin, pumpkins are not only associated with Halloween carved lanterns, but make an excellent ingredients for all types of dishes.
Pumpkin season stretches from October to December in the UK, so make the most of this deliciously sweet, honeyed flesh while it's readily available.
Picking the perfect pumpkin
- Pumpkins should be firm all over. Soft spots are indicative of decay which significantly affects both taste and carving.
- Any pumpkins with blemishes or brown spots should be avoided.
- Healthy pumpkins should have a hard, sturdy stalk.
- More rounded pumpkins produce tastier seeds which are ideal for roasting.
- Note which pumpkins are good for cooking and which are better for carving, depending on your requirements.
Storing your pumpkin
- Pumpkins (and other winter squashes) can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, or refrigerated for up to three months.
- If you have cut pumpkin, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for up to five days.
Try this selection of recipes where sweet pumpkin - or a similar squash veg - is the staple ingredient.
This granola is a healthier version of the more sugary shop-bought varieties.
Top tips for carving a Halloween lantern
- You can carve almost any pumpkin - try to choose one with a flat bottom and firm skin.
- The heavier a pumpkin is, the thicker its walls will be. Thick walls can block candle light and may not show carved details off to their best.
- Use an ice cream scoop to remove the pulp (keep the scraps for soup).
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid when you light your candle and the room will smell like pumpkin pie!