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Pumpkin SB

If you’re making jack-o-lanterns for Hallowe’en this year, you’ll end up with a lot of pumpkin flesh and seeds.

Hence the sudden annual surge in consumption of pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin…and so on and so forth. There are plenty of recipes out there, and you’ll notice that they all include spices of one sort or another: cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin tend to be the most popular.

There’s a good reason for this, apart from the fact that pumpkin itself doesn’t taste of anything much.

Pumpkins and gourds are quite high in starch, and ‘cool’ in terms of digestibility. They need those warming herbs or spices to make them more digestible as well as tastier. They’re not particularly nutritious, but they can make a satisfying meal on a cold autumn day.

The seeds, however, are a different matter; throw them away and you’re losing the best part of the pumpkin.

They are a rich source of zinc, especially if you leave the shell on, and that makes them useful in all sorts of inflammatory conditions; prostatitis in particular has been well researched. They contain various other antioxidants and minerals, too, and are a good source of vitamin E. Other conditions where they may be of benefit include diabetes and some types of cancer.

You can eat them raw, but again, they are much tastier if you roast them with some seasoning. No more than 20 minutes’ roasting is recommended, to keep the oils from breaking down. Toss them in a little olive oil with paprika, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add them to savoury dishes, or just eat them as a snack.

EDITOR: Su has a great herb handbook available to buy directly from her website or from Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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