Monday, 28 October 2013
Q:What’s a vampire’s favourite fruit?
A: A nec(k)tarine!
Hee hee! In case you haven’t noticed it’s Hallowe’en this week, a time for ghouls and ghosts and of course, my favourite, the pumpkin lantern! I love pumpkins as they are easy to grow, lovely to eat and fun to carve. Oh and they have a funny name too 😉 This week I am sharing with you my top tips for growing pumpkins and Mummy’s favourite pumpkin soup recipe.
How did that light get in there?!
How to Grow Pumpkins
Pumpkins are easy to grow. Try growing them from next Spring and you could have some of your very own pumpkins to eat and carve by next Hallowe’en. Here’s how:
- You can easily grow pumpkins from seed. You can grow them in a pot indoors to start them off and plant them out once all the risk of frost has passed or just sow them where they are to grow. Sow between April and June.
- If you are growing in a pot start with a small (7.5cm) pot. Plant the seed on its side about 2.5cm deep in soil and cover. Once the roots come through the bottom pot onto a larger pot.
- When you are planting outside choose a sheltered spot and remove the weakest seedlings once they have germinated.
- Look after your seedlings by adding a mulch and a feed (tomato fertiliser is fine) and water regularly during the growing season.
- As your pumpkins grow, raise them by adding some wood or a brick underneath which will stop them from rotting.
- Remove any leaves which are shading the fruit – they need maximum light to ripen.
- If there is a risk of early frost protect your pumpkins using cardboard and straw.
- Keep the pumpkins on the plant as long as possible to make sure it is fully ripe. Once the stems starts cracking and the skin is really tough it is ready.
- Cut your pumpkin off with a long stalk. You can store it for 4-6 months.
If you are looking for a variety to grow which will make a good pumpkin for next Hallowe’en, try “Jack of all Lanterns”. It also stores and cooks well. And if you have plenty of pumpkins, a yummy recipe which is perfect for this time of year that you can ask your Mummy & Daddy to help you cook is…
- 2 large onions
- 2 carrots
- 3 large butternut squash
- 2 large pumpkins
- 4 cloves garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Beef stock
- Vegetable stock
- 1 tin of tomatoes
Pumpkin soup, perfect for this time of year – serve it in a pumpkin for the ultimate effect!
- 1. Cut the pumpkin and butternut squash into chunks. (We just want the flesh not the skin or seeds.)
- 2. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with oil , season with salt and pepper and some crushed garlic.
- 3. Roast in a hot oven (190C) for 30 mins.
- 4. Chop the onions and fry until soft. Chop and add the carrots and soften for a few minutes.
- 5. Add in a pint of vegetable stock and a pint of beef stock (you can make this with just vegetable stock if you prefer) and add the tin of tomatoes.
- 6. When the pumpkin and butternut is roasted add it to the pot and simmer for twenty minutes.
- 7. Put everything into a blender and blend and then pour back into the pot.
- If you want to be super fancy (!) you can serve your pumpkin soup in small pumpkins which have been hollowed out and made into bowls and add a swirl of cream on top 😉
For a wonderful Halloween themed craft project have a look at this blog:
Halloween Leaf Ghosts!
Happy Hallowe’en everyone.