Pumpkins come in many varieties, shapes, sizes and colours, and are often referred to as ‘Winter Pumpkins’, which is to do with their season but also signifies their growth characteristic – they mature on the vine and will not ripen any more once harvested.
Blue-grey, sea green, yellow with green stripes and red spots, light tan, dark green, yellow or orange with yellow or orange spattering; bell shape, acorn shape, teardrop shape; flesh colours ranging from deep orange to creamy yellow – all are delicious and packed with nutrients.
Probably the most popular is the Butternut, with its deep orange flesh and sweet, nutty flavour. It makes an excellent first food for a baby from the age of 6 months.
Pumpkins are good for baby (and you):
Nutritional content does vary a little, depending on variety, but in the main, pumpkins are rich in fibre, vitamin A, beta-carotene, calcium, folate and potassium – so a wonderful aid to the digestive system, and the healthy development of bones and teeth, muscle, vision, the heart and the nervous system.
Hints on buying and storing:
- Pumpkins keep extremely well for up to four months, so it would be hard to find one on sale that is past its best!
- At home, store in a cool, dry place.
- Steam or bake to retain the most nutrients and flavour.
- Baking is easier than trying to peel and chop a large pumpkin for boiling or steaming.
- Cut pumpkin in half with a strong, sharp knife and scoop out the seeds, then bake cut-side-down with one or two cups of water, at 190C (400F), for about 40 minutes. Cool, then scoop out the flesh to chop or puree as preferred.
Ideas for ways of including pumpkins in your baby’s meals:
- Add some pumpkin puree to homemade baby cereal.
- Include in cooked chicken or pork dishes.
- Stir a little into plain yogurt.
Please remember: Always consult your baby’s paediatrician or doctor about introducing new foods.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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