A big boost: Just a few decades ago, pumpkins were still considered poor people’s food or rejected as animal feed. Today it is finding its way into the haute cuisine of the best chefs.
His recipe for success? With only 25 kilocalories per 100 grams, the superfood is a convenient slimming aid and at the same time is bursting with healthy ingredients.
No wonder pumpkin cultivation has doubled since 2016!
Here, the orange-colored super vegetables are harvested and sold in September and October: your chance to start autumn well-armed.
Superfood Pumpkin: Varieties, Origins and Seasons
Botanically, pumpkin is a berry, but what a berry! However, it is one of the largest berries in the world and is related to the cucumber, melon and zucchini. In 2016, a Belgian set the world record with his 1.2 ton pumpkin (!).
The pumpkin family, which includes edible, ornamental and oil pumpkins, includes about 800 species of pumpkins. Attention: decorative gourds are really just decoration, they contain the bitter substance cucurbitanin, which can lead to symptoms of poisoning.
In our country, pumpkins are in season at the end of summer and in autumn. You can get them in any supermarket from September to November. Because so-called winter squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for a long time, you can benefit from them even in the spring.
Tip: You can tell a ripe pumpkin when you buy it by the fact that it sounds hollow when you tap on its skin.
Less popular are summer squashes, such as squash and lemon squash, which are harvested unripe and must be processed quickly—delicious as raw vegetables in salads.
These are the most popular varieties of pumpkins
At the forefront is the bright orange, versatile Hokkaido, whose skin you can eat. The most common edible pumpkins also include giant pumpkins such as yellow centipede, from which Halloween grimaces are carved.
Musk gourd – like the aromatic nutmeg gourd – and pear-shaped butter are also coveted.
With their firm flesh, they are suitable for soups, casseroles and desserts. An interesting effect is provided by spaghetti squash, the flesh of which separates into threads when cooked.
Pumpkin can be prepared easily and in different ways, boiled, grilled, baked and baked, it is suitable as a soloist in a delicious soup, spicy in chutney, stuffed in a vegetarian main dish, as a side dish and in the end sweet as a cake.
In the photo gallery: The most popular varieties of pumpkins
Ingredients: Pumpkin has so many good things to offer
For health, pumpkins provide a small firework of excellent ingredients. With lots of vitamin C, pumpkin is a miracle weapon against flu and colds. Its rich orange color indicates that there is a lot of beta carotene under the skin.
This is converted into vitamin A in the body, protects our cells, supports the immune system and is good for the eyes. But that’s not all: the pulp is valued with a mixture of valuable minerals. Potassium and magnesium are good for the heart and fortify the nerves—even if avid pumpkin-growing fans fight over who has the biggest (pumpkin).
Ingredients and nutritional values at a glance
|average nutritional value||for 100 grams|
|Beta carotene (μg)||580|
|Vitamin E (mg)||1.1|
|Folic acid (μg)||35|
|Vitamin C (mg)||10|
Source: German Association for Nutrition, Nutrition Facts Table
The main benefits of pumpkins
- Rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, minerals, phytosterols and omegas
- A portion of pumpkin covers about a third of the daily need for vitamin A*
- Shelf life up to 3 months (stored cool and dry)
- The price is approximately 2 euros per kilogram
- Buying tip: A fresh pumpkin will sound hollow to the touch
* 200 g of Hokkaido pumpkin contains approximately 0.3 mg of vitamin A. Daily requirement for men: 1 mg, women: 0.8 mg
Pumpkins are so rich in vitamins
Delicious vegetables provide your body with many important nutrients and are low in calories.
Indians treated their wounds with porridge – today it caresses your skin like a homemade care mask.
- Slimming products: Depending on the variety, 100g of pulp has between 23 and 27 calories – great for light cooking. At the same time, vegetables provide many vitamins, including beta-carotene (as a precursor to vitamin A), vitamin C and vitamin E. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as filling fiber are also included. Dietary fiber also supports digestion.
Antioxidant: Hokkaido oranges have more beta-carotene than carrots. Antioxidant acts against free radicals and is considered an active protection of cells.
Nor should its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory be underestimated: beta-carotene can neutralize potential cancer cells and help regenerate damaged skin cells.
- first: In the body, beta-carotene is eventually converted into vitamin A – an important nutrient for our eyes.
Don’t worry that the healthy ingredients will be lost during cooking – on the contrary: beta-carotene can be used more easily in the digestive tract when heated.
- Pumpkin seed oil for the heart and prostate: Valuable oil is obtained from pumpkin seeds. Vitamin E and linoleic acid lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease. Additionally, studies from Taiwan showed that pumpkin seed oil counteracts prostate enlargement.
Pumpkin Seed Power Snack: When it gets dark earlier in the fall, it gets you in the mood. The amino acid tryptophan (or: L-tryptophan) contained in pumpkin seeds is involved in the production of the happiness hormone, serotonin.
Just one handful a day is enough to improve your mood. The seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have a positive effect on blood pressure, have an anti-inflammatory effect and help the heart and blood circulation. The little energy packs also boast phytosterols and ease your symptoms if you’ve got a bladder infection on cold fall days.
medicinal plants: The Indians used the vegetables externally, pureed the pulp, mixed it with spring water, and spread the cooling pulp on the burns. They treated bruises and sprains by heating the leaves of the plant and applying them to the painful areas.
Beauty Elixir: Vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene – also acts as a mask for the skin. A simple recipe: Mix 2 teaspoons of boiled pumpkin with ½ teaspoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of milk and apply the mask to the face and décolleté in circular motions. Rinse with warm water after 10 to 15 minutes.
Our 10 most delicious pumpkin recipes
Fortunately, local flyers flock to every supermarket and vegetable stand. Our favorites: Hokkaido, spaghetti, nutmeg and butternut squash. The latter also taste great in cakes or desserts. Try our convenient recipes.