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Pumpkins are among the oldest cultivated plants in the world, as they were cultivated more than 8,000 years ago by the Indians, and Paleolithic man was already chasing hunger with the seeds of wild pumpkins 15,000 years ago.
In the beginning, the Indians used mainly seeds, flowers and leaves in their diet because the meat was too bitter. They were rediscovered for Europeans by Christopher Columbus, although they were once used, especially in pharmacy, by the ancient Greeks and Romans, as they are said to contain many health-beneficial substances.
Today, they grow about 800 species of pumpkins, ornamental and edible, which are of various colors and shapes, round, elongated, star-shaped, trumpet-like, curved, some are warty, ribbed, ... not to mention the color. Just as they are of different colors and shapes, their flavors are also different, some are slightly sweet and reminiscent of chestnuts, some have white flesh, bright green, orange, ... They are small and very large, real giants; in Europe and the USA, the largest pumpkins are selected and weighed each year. Just for comparison: a pumpkin usually weighs about a good two to three pounds.
This year's winner in Slovenia is Janko Lovše, whose pumpkin weighed 713 kilograms.
Real connoisseurs say that the best in the kitchen are those with orange flesh, such as hokkaido pumpkins. It is said to be named after the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Maybe because the Japanese grow most pumpkins on this island, although they manage to grow only a good 10 percent of pumpkins for their own use, and 90 percent of them are imported from China, which is why they are called Chinese pumpkins in Japan.
Hokkaido pumpkins are increasingly thriving in Slovenian gardens and are very beautiful dark orange, with a shiny and smooth shell. In shape, this pumpkin resembles a very very thick pear with a short upper part, weighs up to two and a half kilograms and ripens in autumn and can be used in the kitchen for a long time in winter. The orange flesh of this pumpkin has a slightly sweet taste and can be cooked with the peel, as it is very thin. Otherwise, these highly prized pumpkins are not only used for soups and various sauces, you can also prepare an excellent dessert from it - pumpkin pie. In fact, you can even make lunch out of a hokkaido pumpkin, from soup to main course and dessert. You can cut it in half and bake it in the oven as well.
Otherwise, in the past, pumpkins were sometimes considered the food of the poor, other times a real delicacy or just fodder for pigs. In fact, they have only become popular in our country in the last few years.
Pumpkin seeds and meat are full of health
The fleshy part of the pumpkin is eaten fresh and only exceptionally dried for medicinal purposes. Pumpkin meat is rich in beta carotene and vitamin E. Pumpkin meat is also rich in fiber and acts as a mild laxative. Folk medicine recommends it for external use - ground for compresses to relieve burns. Some medicinal effects are also attributed to pumpkin seeds.
They strengthen the prostate.
Pumpkin seed dressing can also be used against intestinal inflammation.
Pumpkin seeds help prevent or alleviate the condition of bladder stones.
Pumpkin seeds are the richest plant source of zinc.
Pumpkin seed oil smells like walnuts
Today, pumpkins are mostly used to extract oils. After picking, pumpkin seeds are thoroughly washed with water to remove the remnants of mucus that sticks to them. Drying follows. Next, the pea is coarsely ground into a bone pulp. This is followed by the roasting of the porridge. It is the roasting that is decisive for the taste of pumpkin oil. The mass must smell like walnuts; but if it smells of burnt toast, the oil does not taste right.
The mass is then loaded into a press. The particles of the substance floating in the obtained oil settle to the bottom of the container after about a week. Thus we get a natural unrefined pumpkin oil, which is green-red in color and is very aromatic.
Pumpkin seed oil is a life elixir
Pumpkin seed oil is also called the well of youth or the elixir of life because it is rich in vitamins (vitamin E), minerals, trace elements, carotenoids… Pumpkin seed oil has a favorable fatty acid composition, as it contains about 20 percent saturated fatty acids, 30 percent monounsaturated fatty acids and percent polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In cooking, it is used mainly for salads. A few drops of a noble drop make rustic salads something selected, divine. It also goes well with beans (dry and green), tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, beef, mashed potatoes and eggs. It gives cold appetizers and risottos an unusual climax of aroma. It is also useful for making sauces and even for baking. A specialty of Prekmurje cuisine is, for example, trout breaded in corn flour and fried in pumpkin oil. Although salads with the addition of pumpkin oil are special and very tasty, it is a pity not to use it for other purposes. I personally love cheese cubes. which is pumpkin oil. Or ice cream topped with pumpkin oil.
Pumpkins also for care and beauty
Folk medicine recommends massages with pumpkin oil for headaches, back pain, inflamed or sore muscles and lumbago.
Compresses made of ground pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil are recommended for painful bruises, swelling, sprains and bruises.
Pumpkin seed oil also contains a number of vitamins, minerals and a lot of linoleic acid and phytosterols, which are essential for tight skin, strong hair, healthy bones and teeth.
Pumpkins also for fun
Cut pumpkins chase away evil spirits
Pumpkin carving, which is one of the most famous Halloween activities today and is often seen in our country, became popular only in the 16th century in the USA. This habit, however, is associated with the legend of the blacksmith Jack who pretentiously the devil.
it’s my pumpkin last year
My lunch today
My lunch today is roasted chicken fillet, potatoes and pumpkin sauce. Pumpkins in sauce are a delicacy that enrich the lunch with their sweet, salty and creamy taste. They can be served with roasted or mashed potatoes, but if you add boiled beef, roast or fried chicken, we have a perfect wholesome lunch. I sprinkled pumpkin oil over the pumpkin sauce. To make it easier to separate the peel from the pumpkin flesh ... I put it in the oven for a few minutes. I cleaned the seeds (pumpkin seeds) and put them in the oven to dry. I love eating pumpkin seeds.