Tesco will be returning to the 2015 National Ploughing Championships with lots in store for visitors to the event showcasing fresh and in season produce from over 40 Irish suppliers. This week also sees the start of Autumn harvests for pumpkins which have been growing since mid-May in Castlebellingham in Louth with the first pumpkins of the season expected in stores in two weeks time. This year Tesco Ireland expects to sell over 100,000 pumpkins with Irish pumpkins sourced from Keelings’ grower Oisin O’Gradaigh outside Castlebellingham in Louth. Pumpkins are a Halloween favourite, in season from October to December and popular for Halloween lanterns or Autumn cooking.
When selecting a pumpkin, it’s best to select one that feels heavy for its size with a firm skin. Whole pumpkins are best stored in a cool, dark location with plenty of air. They have quite tough skin so when preparing a pumpkin for cooking, it’s recommended to place it on a tea towel to keep it steady and then use a large strong knife to cut it in half. Once it’s cut in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into segments which can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week. Pumpkins are a good source of fibre as well as a range of vitamins and minerals including potassium and Vitamin A. Perfect for Autumn cooking, it’s a versatile ingredient that works in soups, stews or even mashed up as a side dish. It takes approximately 30-40 minutes to bake or roast or 15-20 minutes to boil.
At this week’s Ploughing Championships, visitors to the Tesco tent will be treated to cookery demonstrations with renowned chef Eugene McSweeney serving up delicious dishes with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. Tempting treats will include some of the Tesco own brand range products which scooped 32 awards at this year’s prestigious Great Taste Awards and 10 Irish Quality Food Awards. A number of Taste Bud suppliers will be attending over the three day event. 2015 marks the fourth year of the annual supplier development programme run by Tesco in partnership with Bord Bia which supports Irish food and drink producers at various stages of their development and helps them grow their business with Tesco in Ireland and in Tesco markets abroad.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe:
Ingredients (per serving)
– 1 tsp of olive oil
– 75g of onion, chopped
– 1 clove of garlic
– 25g of cannellini beans, canned and drained
– 25g of pumpkin or squash
– 1 tsp of reduced salt vegetable stock powder
– Finely slice your onion and garlic and prepare the stock by dissolving the powder in 250mls of boiling water
– Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic and squash. Cook on a low heat for 5 mins.
– Add the pumpkin and beans, stir well and then add in the stock.
– Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is tender.