Tis' pumpkin season. Gone are the long, light, sunny days. The evenings are getting dark, the morning air is cool and crisp, the canal towpath is carpeted in orange and gold ... Autumn has most definitely arrived.
Nevertheless, I try my best to embrace the season each year. The cottage is warm and cosy. I love buying pumpkin spiced candles, or those red ones that smell of apple and cinnamon. The fires get lit and I make warm batches of hearty stews and soups.
It's half term holidays and I've been looking after my godson Jack (6). I asked him on Monday what he'd like to do and he asked whether we could carve pumpkins. I remember pumpkin carving as a kid, but it's somehow become even more popular over the past few years.
With my ever last-minute organisational skills and a global pandemic to contend with, Jack and I ventured out in search of a pumpkin patch that didn't require pre booking. It turns out that's impossible! But on the third attempt we found one with a cancellation.
Wheeling the barrow through muddy puddles, Jack excitedly chose his favourite gigantic orange pumpkins, and a couple of miniature white ones for me! The thing with carving pumpkins is, there's always a bit of added pressure. Sitting down with an incredibly sharp knife, trying to intricately cut patterns into a solid vegetable that's as tough as old leather whilst a small child pesters to join in, can get rather stressful!
So, whilst I helped Jack carve his pumpkin on Halloween, today is my day. Yes, I am a grown adult, genuinely excited about cutting bits out of a pumpkin!! It turns out I'm not the only one. Experts suggest that time spent crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain by easing stress, increasing happiness and protecting the brain from damage. Whether it's drawing, cake baking, sewing, knitting, painting or indeed pumpkin carving, researchers are drawing connections between the mental health benefits of meditation and the zen reached whilst indulging in craft activities.
Pumpkin Benefits for Our Skin
Pumpkins are loaded with powerful antioxidants as well as beta-carotene - a Vitamin A derivative. Being a good source of Vitamin C, pumpkin can help protect the skin from wrinkles and sun damage, whilst in addition improving skin tone and elasticity. Vitamin E is also present in pumpkin oil and acts as an antioxidant. It is directly related to aiding skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Pumpkins also contain fruit enzymes, plus zinc and potassium, all of which help to combat redness. Whilst the carotenoids in the plant pigment that give pumpkins their orange hue slow down cellular ageing. Adding pumpkin regularly to our diet can help to protect against damaging UV rays.
Pumpkin seeds are high in selenium and essential fatty acids, among many other healthy vitamins and minerals that keep our skin looking radiant. These seeds play an important role in wound healing, acne prevention, collagen maintenance, protection from environmental stressors and promoting healthy hydration to combat the dry skin plaques and patches that accompany psoriatic lesions and painful eczema.
Carve Your Own
Whether you fancy a simple and pretty white unicorn, a giant cannibal pumpkin, or a funky green witch .. check out some fabulous pumpkin carving options here.
What to do with all that delicious orange pulp when you've hollowed out your prize pumpkin? Check back on the blog throughout November for ideas! Like this Easy Pumpkin Soup recipe.