‘Tis the season…

We’re about as far as we can get from Pi Day, and a fairly long way from the related Tau Day and Pi Approximation Day.  However, we are now fairly well into pumpkin season, which gives me a good excuse to share this mathematical / culinary riddle that I came across the other day: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?   (I’ll put the answer at the bottom of the post in case you haven’t worked it out by then – although the first two sentences should give you a pretty hefty clue.)

Speaking of pumpkins, I decided this year (for the first time) to have a go at cooking with one and, having concocted this idea about a week ago, actually got round to buying and cooking a small pumpkin today.

There are many things you can do with a pumpkin and I decided to go for one of the standard ones – pumpkin soup.  Rather than be boring and follow a recipe, I opted for my usual experimental cookery approach.

I started by chopping up a couple of spring onions and a clove of garlic and lobbing them into my soup pot (which is to say, my biggest saucepan) and letting them simmer for a bit, with just a little oil.  In retrospect, that was perhaps a mistake as it took much longer to chop up the pumpkin (which was slightly underripe and quite tough to cut through, even with my nice big, reasonably sharp cleaver) and the oniony bits were ready long before the pumpkin was.  In future it would probably be good to prepare the pumpkin first, or at least make a start on it, before putting the onions onto the heat.

I removed the pumpkin seeds, which I put aside for further attention, and the skin, which I put in the compost bin, and then chopped the pumpkin flesh into fairly small chunks and put them into the pot, along with some boiling water.  For seasoning, I added a small amount of salt, a fairly generous amount of black pepper and paprika and a little bit of nutmeg, as well as a couple of bayleaves and a thickish slice of lemon, cut into quarters.  I brought that lot to the boil and then left it to simmer for about three quarters of an hour, before mushing it up with a potato masher (in the absence of a blender) and adding a bit of cornflour to thicken it.  After ten minutes more simmering it was ready to eat with some nice, fresh bread.

It seemed a shame to throw all the pumpkin seeds away, so I gave them a quick wash and then toasted them lightly in a dry frying pan.  There were too many to fit in the pan all in one go, so I did them in two batches.  The first I seasoned with a bit of salt.  For the second batch, I added some black pepper and paprika as well.  They seem to have turned out quite well, although I haven’t tested a very large sample just yet.

The answer to the riddle, in case you were still wondering, is pumpkin pi 🙂