Pumpkins come in a range of different colours including grey, creamy brown, blue-grey and deep orange. Popular varieties in Australia include the Butternut and the Jap, although the smaller, baseball-sized varieties are also becoming popular.
Choose pumpkins that are firm and feel heavy for their size: the heavier the pumpkin, the moister and firmer the flesh. If pre-cut, choose pumpkin with vivid orange flesh – this means higher levels of beta-carotene.
Store pumpkin in a cool, dry, ventilated place, and they’ll last for up to two months. You can’t refrigerate whole pumpkins, but cut pumpkin pieces will last for up to two days in the fridge if wrapped in plastic first.
Pumpkins are extremely versatile and can be boiled, sautéed, steamed, deep-fried, microwaved or roasted. It’s usually advisable to remove the skin.
5 quick ways with pumpkin
Add pumpkin chunks to your next risotto for a filling, high-fibre addition without excess kilojoules.
Make this vegie fun for kids by serving pumpkin soup inside the shell. Cut off the top of a pumpkin, scoop out the flesh and bake the shell in the oven at 180ºC for 30 minutes. Use flesh to make the soup; add peas, potato pieces or legumes.
Whip up a delicious, on-the-go snack by roasting pumpkin seeds with a dash of oil and a sprinkling of spice. Citrus zest, chilli or even cocoa are great choices.
Make a low-fat cheesecake with puréed pumpkin pieces and enjoy a touch of sweetness, colour and a few more vitamins in your dessert.
Leftover roast pumpkin from last night’s dinner? Make tomorrow’s lunch by combining it with roast baby beets, pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese and rocket for an antioxidant-filled salad.