Well…that’s that. Bye bye summer. But let’s not get depressed, because autumn can be a beautiful time of year. Glorious shades of reds and russet, low sunsets burnishing the streets in a golden haze, cosy meals by a roaring log fire…and pumpkins. What? Pumpkins? Absolutely. The real star of the season, they come in all kinds of gnarled shapes and twisted sizes. Tasty, healthy, cheap, you can do a lot more with a pumpkin than simply hollowing it out for Halloween.

Pumpkins are nutritious

For a start, pumpkins are very good for you. They’re low in calories and sodium, yet high in fibre and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that converts into Vitamin A, which plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body. According to many researchers, eating a diet rich in beta-carotene can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and even some cancers. They also believe it helps to delay ageing (not that we’re suggesting you need help). The seeds, meanwhile, are high in protein and iron, plus they tick all the vitamin B boxes too.

Pumpkins

How to pick a good pumpkin

Look for a pumpkin with clear skin and consistent colouring, although don’t bother too much about any cosmetic blemishes or surface insect damage as they won’t affect the taste. Do beware of soft spots or open cuts, though, as they are the giveaway signs of damage or early spoilage. Choose one that feels firm and heavy for its size and has the stem solidly attached. Press the flesh near the stem. If it gives, it’s probably not fresh.

Different types of pumpkin

There are countless different varieties of pumpkins, which are actually just one form of winter squash. Smaller pumpkins offer more flavour and have fewer large seeds. The green-skinned Kabocha, butternut squash, carnival, onion squash, Queensland Blue, and Crown Prince are all worth looking out for once you become a pumpkin connoisseur.

How to cook a pumpkin

Meaty, satisfying, and packed full of goodness, pumpkins can be boiled, steamed or oven baked. Make a pie. Add to a stew. Serve as a purée. Simply cut open your prize pumpkin, remove the seeds and all that stringy stuff, then cut into halves or wedges. Then just go on the internet, search ‘tasty pumpkin recipes’ and discover a world you would never known have existed. Oh – and by the way, pumpkins are a fruit not a vegetable because…yes…they contain seeds.

pumpkin puree

From pumpkin to body pump

Now you’re probably looking for ways to put your pumpkin-powered body through its paces. Like the idea of a varied routine? What about flitting between some of London’s leading premium gyms and studios? Maybe you like training with friends too? So download the free E² app and discover the world of fitness on demand. No contracts, no memberships and, to be honest, no pumpkins required.

Search Esq2 in the AppStore or Esquared on Google Play.

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