Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins.
Pumpkin is a fast-growing vine that creeps along the surface in a similar fashion like that of other Cucurbitaceae family vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, squash, cantaloupes...etc. It is one of the most popular field crops cultivated around the world, including in the USA at commercial scale for its fruit, and seeds.
Pumpkins, in general, feature orange or yellow outer skin color; however, some varieties can exhibit dark to pale green, brown, white, red and gray. Their color characteristics is largely influenced by yellow-orange pigments in their skin and pulp. Its thick rind is smooth with light, vertical ribs.
In structure, the fruit features golden-yellow to orange flesh depending up on the poly-phenolic pigments in it. The fruit has a hollow center, with numerous small, off-white colored seeds interspersed in a net like structure. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of healthy vitaimins & minerals.
Preparation and serving methods:
Some hybrid varieties are usually subjected to insecticide powder or spray. Therefore, wash them thoroughly in running water in order to remove dirt, soil and any residual insecticides/fungicides or better yet purchase only ORGANIC.
Cut the stem end and slice the whole fruit into two equal halves. Remove central net like structure and set aside seeds. Then cut the flesh into desired sizes. In general, small cubes are preferred in cooking preparations. Almost all the parts of the pumpkin plant; fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds, are edible.
Pumpkin can be used in variety of delicious recipes either baked, stew- fried; however, it is eaten best after steam-cooking in order to get maximum nutrients. In China, young tender, pumpkin leaves consumed as cooked greens or in soups.
In the Indian subcontinent where it is popular as "kaddu or sitaphal", pumpkin is used in the preparation of "sabzee", sweet dishes (halwa), desserts, soups, curries,...etc.
The fruit is used in the preparations of pies, pancakes, custard, ravioli...etc in Europe and USA.
Golden nugget pumpkins are used to make wonderful soufflés, stuffing, soups...etc.
Roasted Pumpkin seeds (Pepita) can be eaten as snacks.