Halloween brings the pumpkin out big: pumpkin lanterns glow everywhere with scary motives in gardens and windows. Unfortunately, the healthy pulp of the pumpkin receives too little attention. It pays to pay more attention to these versatile vegetables. Because the pulp, the seeds and the resulting oil are bursting with health-promoting properties. The pumpkin is, surprisingly true, botanically a berry and is one of the cucurbits. Pumpkins can weigh up to 100 kg - making the pumpkin the largest berry in the world.
Ingredients of a pumpkin
The pumpkin is a healthy sattler: 100 grams of its pulp have only 27 calories. The pumpkin makes a vegetable accompaniment, filled or processed into soup a good figure. It provides many nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Above all, beta-carotene is an important protective substance for the cells because it has antioxidant properties and protects the cells from the attack of free radicals. Pumpkin seeds are - partially roasted and salted - nibbled as a snack and used in baked goods.
Pumpkin seeds: properties beneficial to health
- The antioxidant ingredients of pumpkin seeds support the body's defenses and fight off free radicals.
- The consumption of pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil is especially recommended for prostate diseases. In benign prostate enlargements, the beneficial effects of pumpkin seeds are scientifically proven. There is also evidence of a beneficial effect on malignant growths.
- Pumpkin seeds have a calming effect on a stimulating bladder. Pumpkin meat is diuretic, as it contains plenty of water and potassium, but little sodium. In order to achieve a sufficient dose, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds should be eaten at least twice a day and pumpkin seed oil should be used to make salads.
- People who freeze easily, should grab the pumpkin soup: pumpkin warms from the inside. The effect is even more pronounced when the soup is spiced with curry or chilli, because these spices further stimulate thermogenesis and increase energy consumption.
Pumpkin seed oil
From the kernels of the oil pumpkin is obtained the high-quality oil. It contains nutritionally valuable fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, a vital, diunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. In addition, it provides a high amount of vitamin E, but also vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and D, the minerals phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.
Pumpkin seed oil also provides phytosterols. These phytochemicals have various beneficial effects on the body, including lowering cholesterol and acting as an antioxidant. Because of its valuable, unsaturated fatty acids, the oil quickly rancid and should therefore always be kept in the refrigerator.
Versatile use of pumpkin
For many hundreds of years more and more pumpkin varieties have been bred. Today there are about 800 different species, which differ in shape, color, size and taste. From the pulp you can cook soups, chutneys, casseroles, jams and pumpkin greens or bake cakes. It also tastes raw in grated salads. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten peeled and pumpkin seed oil is extracted from it.
5 facts about pumpkin - © istockphoto, maximkabb
The most important pumpkin varieties
- Nutmeg pumpkin: The heavily ribbed shell of this pumpkin, which can weigh up to 20 kg, is brown-green and its flesh is bright orange. It tastes slightly like nutmeg and is particularly suitable for making jam because of its sweet aroma.
- Early Butternut: This pumpkin has a high pulp content (few seeds, thin skin) and a sweetish-nutty taste. It is particularly rich in carotene and is well-suited for filling due to its pear shape.
- Hokkaido pumpkin: Tasty (strong-sweet) is the little guy (15-25 cm Ø) one of the most aromatic. Practical: Its shell, whether green or orange, is so thin that you can eat it.
- Yellow Centner: He is one of the giants among the pumpkins, as he can weigh up to 50 kg. Therefore, this pumpkin is sold very cheaply in pieces. The pulp is yellow.
Plant or buy pumpkins
Mature pumpkins sound hollow when knocked on, their stems are woody - a sign that the pumpkin was not harvested too early. Pumpkins should have no brown spots or bruises and the stalk should still be present. If you want to grow a pumpkin yourself, plant the seeds in the spring (late April) after the last frost. The harvest takes place in late autumn (October) or at the beginning of winter, before the first frost.
Store pumpkins and freeze
Pumpkins can be stored for several months (up to ten months) in the cool cellar or at another cool, but frost-free place, and processed as needed. However, cut pumpkins are only stable for a few days to 2 weeks, depending on the temperature. In the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator your pumpkin stays fresh for 3-4 days.
Pumpkin soup and casseroles can be easily frozen. Peeled, steamed pumpkin cubes are also easy to freeze and process at a later date. You can not freeze raw pumpkin, otherwise it will become tough.
Recipe for a pumpkin soup
A little recipe for a pumpkin soup to drive away ghosts on Halloween:
- 1 kg of pumpkin meat
- 1 onion
- 1 small parsnip
- 1 apple
- 1 l vegetable broth
- Ginger, allspice, curry, salt and pepper
And so is the pumpkin soup made:
- Peel the onion, parsnip and apple, cut into small pieces and fry in butter.
- Add pumpkin meat and vegetable broth.
- Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Purée and season.
Add a spoonful of sour cream and some roasted almond leaves to the pumpkin soup before serving. This gives the soup a refined touch.