The tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates back to the Irish and Scottish Celts. Come the autumn as the evenings became darker they wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they carved faces into vegetables such as turnips and squash and placed inside a light and called them Jack O’Lanterns.
When the immigrants arrived in America and found a plentiful supply of pumpkins, they soon adopted the pumpkin for carving Jack O’Lanterns. Pumpkins are also great to eat, so next Halloween cook up some pumpkin stew, soup or pie.
Beta-carotene gives pumpkins their orange colour, similar to carrots. This helps is an antioxidant that our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A after eating. This is essential for healthy skin and eyes and supports and strengthens our immune system.
Why not try your hand as a farmer and harvest your choice of pumpkin directly from a pumpkin patch. This makes for a fun day out with the family too.
Pumpkins can last for 3-4 months if properly stored: keep them whole, store them upside-down (stalk-side down) in a cool place, and ideally on a piece of cardboard rather than directly on the floor. Once cut, store pumpkin wrapped or sealed tightly in the fridge for a few days.
All parts of our beloved pumpkins are actually edible, this means you can eat the seeds, leaves, skin and flowers.
At Its Best:
October - December
Here are some of our favourite ways to engage kids with pumpkins:
Find your go-to meals in our family favourites section and see what veggies work best with them.
Find out how to add more veg to your suppers here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it!
The first thing to do is remove the pressure. If the veg doesn’t get eaten, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other days, other dinners, other chances. Fun is key here – try not to worry about mess, perfect table manners, or playing with food. Instead, focus on making the process of getting the food to the plates, readying the table, and the actual eating relaxed.
The best principles for success here are the Three Rs (role modelling, rewarding, re-offering) which you can read about here.
But there is one more way you can serve for success, and that is giving your child a role. You don’t have to do this every time, just encourage them in their strengths through it when you can.
Here are some of our favourite ideas:
Design a menu
Come up with a silly name or story for a dish
Help with making a meal plan and choosing veg for dinners or snacks
Help to serve up the meal on dishes, lay the table or create a centrepiece to be involved in the physical ‘serving up’ process.
The Wonderful World of Veg
Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…