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Harvest time for pumpkins

Roasted, mashed, made into pasta, stirred into a risotto, cut into fries, diced into a quiche, ravioli stuffing, pizza topping, made into pancakes, the hero of a curry, the secret ingredient of brownies, the main element in a delicious winter soup - the possibilities are endless and the time to gather the star ingredient has finally arrived!

Although the harvest time of winter pumpkins depends on the variety, generally it ranges between the end of March and the end of May. With a few little tricks, you can quickly find out when the time is right for harvesting.

When the growth phase of pumpkins is complete, the stalks become dry and woody. If the stalk is very woody, the pumpkin can be harvested without hesitation. Another characteristic by which you can tell the ripeness of pumpkins is its rich colour when it is fully ripe. Yet another sign of ripeness is the hollow sound it makes when you tap it. Make sure the time is right and be sure to harvest, in any case, before the first frost.

While harvesting, ensure that your pumpkins are not damaged. If pumpkins are squashed or otherwise damaged, the rotting process may begin making your wonderful bounty short lived. After harvesting, you should wash your pumpkins thoroughly so that no bacteria and/or fungi multiply in the soil residue; you can then store the pumpkin in a dry place. Follow all these useful tips and a successful pumpkin harvest will be yours.


Now that your pumpkins have been carefully harvested, let’s start enjoying them by preparing a tasty pumpkin soup.

Ingredients
1 brown or red onion
½ pumpkin
1 zucchini
½ leek
Vegetable stock
Garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 apple (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)

- Wash and finely chop the vegetables.
- Brown the onion in a large pot with olive oil.
- Add the vegetables and garlic to the pot and top up with vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil then simmer until the vegetables are soft (alternatively, you could roast your vegetables with olive oil first to give your soup depth of flavour).
- Add a peeled and diced apple (an apple may seem out of place but trust us, it’s delicious!)
- Let cool and blend smooth.
- For extra decadence, add a dollop of sour cream and roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds just before serving.

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