Winter pumpkin and squash

Winter pumpkin: home-grown, October to November; imported, September to November. Squash: all year

The bright-orange lantern pumpkins available around Halloween do not have a great deal of flavour, so in my opinion are not worth serving as a vegetable. However, the smooth, silky texture makes wonderful soup, and gives the best texture in Pumpkin Pie or in Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn.

Butternut squash is available all year because when our season finishes we import it from Africa, and its buttery, nutty texture is one of my own favourites. It is shaped like a bottle and has both a nutty flavour and a good firm texture, excellent for roasting and braising as in recipes for Oven-Roasted Winter Vegetables and Latin American stew.

To prepare pumpkin or squash, you need a good, sharp, heavy knife, and first you cut the vegetable in half and then into quarters. After that, scoop out the fibrous bits and all the seeds with a spoon or knife, then, this time using a small but very sharp knife, peel away the tough skin. Finally, cut the pumpkin flesh into cubes or slices.

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