By George McIvor, chairman of The Master Chefs of Great Britain 

The Master Chefs of Great Britain was formed in 1980 to provide a forum for the exchange of culinary ideas and to further the profession through training and the guidance of young chefs. In addition, the association seeks to promote all that is best about British cuisine and produce. For more information on the association and the competitions and training opportunities they provide contact

Official tasting notes 

By New Covent Garden Market, the UK’s leading wholesale fruit and vegetable market 

Properties: Squash and pumpkins are a great winter staple because they keep so well, as long as you store them in a cool, well-ventilated spot, preferably between 8-12˚C. Don’t store a squash or pumpkin in the fridge as the cold will damage it. They should be kept away from light and heat, which will convert the starch to sugar too quickly. Inside the hard orange or yellow skin, the bright orange flesh is sweet and honied. Other colours, including dark green (as with some oilseed pumpkins), also exist. They are a particularly good source of fibre, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals. 

Usage: Pumpkins are the most famous of all the winter squashes and are most associated with Halloween lanterns. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. When ripe, it can be cut into chunks and baked or roasted (for 30-40 minutes) or boiled (for 15-20 minutes) or steamed. It can also be used to make soups, added to stews or mashed as a side dish. Pumpkin and squash flowers can be used to garnish dishes, and they can be dipped in batter then fried in oil. Also, pumpkins can be used to flavour both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. 

1. Heavenly halva Halva is a well-known dessert in the Balkans and Middle East so why not give this crystallised pumpkin with halva and salep ice cream recipe a try? 

2. Pump up the lamb Pumpkin puree is a delicious accompaniment for this Scotch Forfar lamb with a pistachio crust, along with Scottish girolles, crisp cheddar polenta and basil jus. 

3. Hot stuff Spice things up with a tasty Malaysian pumpkin hot and sour soup. 

4. American pie Go Team USA with one of the country’s most famous dishes: pumpkin pie! 

5. Italian inspiration Try pumpkin and sage tortellini with toasted pine kernels and a hint of Amaretto. 

Recipes supplied by: 

1. David McKown 

2. Garry Watson of Gordon’s Restaurant in Inverkeilor 

3. MCGB Chairman, George McIvor, of The Full Range Limited 

4. MCGB Chairman, George McIvor, of The Full Range Limited 

5. Alisdair MacSween of Entier in Westhill