Pumpkins are annuals, but originally come from America. Today is grown, cultivated species in the warm areas of the world, and ripen in late autumn. The root is highly branched and the bulk of the surface layer of soil. The stem is long stems about 399 inches, covered with hairs and most are not branches. The leaves are large and on long stalks. The flowers are single-sex, a plant unicameral. The flowers last only one day. Most often they are pollinated by bees. The seed is oval and flattened, cream white and absolute weighing 150-350 g.
A pumpkin is a cultivar of a squash plant, most commonly of Cucurbita pepo, that is round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange coloration. The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. Some exceptionally large cultivars of squash with similar appearance have also been derived from Cucurbita maxima. Specific cultivars of winter squash derived from other species, including C. argyrosperma, and C. moschata, are also sometimes called “pumpkin”. In New Zealand and Australian English, the term pumpkin generally refers to the broader category called winter squash elsewhere. Native to North America, pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use and are used both in food and recreation. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in Canada and the United States, although commercially canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie fillings are usually made from different kinds of winter squash than the pumpkins frequently carved as jack-o’-lanterns for decoration around Halloween.
Pumpkins, like other squash, are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BC, was found in Mexico. Since some squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably. One often-used botanical classification relies on the characteristics of the stems: pumpkin stems are more rigid, prickly, and angular (with an approximate five-degree angle) than squash stems, which are generally softer, more rounded, and more flared where joined to the fruit. Male (top) and female (bottom) pumpkin flowers Traditional C. pepo pumpkins generally weigh between 6 and 18 pounds (2.7 and 8.2 kg), though the largest cultivars (of the species C. maxima) regularly reach weights of over 75 pounds (34 kg). The color of pumpkins derives from orange carotenoid pigments, including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha and beta carotene, all of which are provitamin A compounds converted to vitamin A in the body.
The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon (πέπων), which is Greek for “large melon”, something round and large. The French adapted this word to pompon, which the British changed to pumpion and later American colonists changed that to the word that is used today, pumpkin.
The term pumpkin has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, and is used interchangeably with “squash” and “winter squash” in some areas. In many areas, including North America and the United Kingdom, pumpkin traditionally refers to only certain round, orange varieties of winter squash, predominantly derived from Cucurbita pepo, while in Australian English, pumpkin can refer to winter squash of any appearance.
All pumpkins are winter squash: mature fruit of certain species in the genus Cucurbita. Characteristics commonly used to define “pumpkin” include smooth and slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange color. Circa 2005, white pumpkins had become increasingly popular in the United States. Other colors, including dark green (as with some oilseed pumpkins), also exist.
Pumpkins are grown all around the world for a variety of reasons ranging from agricultural purposes (such as animal feed) to commercial and ornamental sales. Of the seven continents, only Antarctica is unable to produce pumpkins; the biggest international producers of pumpkins include the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, and China. The traditional American pumpkin used for jack-o-lanterns is the Connecticut Field variety.
“Giant pumpkins” are a large squash (within the group of common squash Cucurbita maxima) that can exceed 1 ton (2,000 pounds) in weight. The variety arose from the large squash of Chile after 1500 A.D through the efforts of botanical societies and enthusiast farmers. Such germplasm is commercially provocative, and in 1986 the United States extended protection for the giant squash. This protection was limited to small specimens of a very specific parameters, being a weight of 175 pounds, oblong shape, etc. In 2004, the restriction expired except for the requirement of indefinite use of the pseudonym “Dill’s Atlantic Giant” for squash fitting the specific parameters or the seeds thereof.
In a 100 gram amount, raw pumpkin provides 26 Calories and is an excellent source (20% or more the Daily Value, DV) of provitamin A beta-carotene and vitamin A (53% DV) . Vitamin C is present in moderate content (11% DV), but no other nutrients are in significant amounts (less than 10% DV). Pumpkin is 92% water, 6.5% carbohydrate, 0.1% fat and 1% protein.
|Energy||109 kJ (26 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.5 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||
Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. In the United States and Canada, pumpkin is a popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple. Pumpkin purée is sometimes prepared and frozen for later use. A can of pureed pumpkin, typically used as the main ingredient in pumpkin pie When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America, it is a very important, traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten mashed and making its way into soups and purees. Often, it is made into pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays.
In Canada, Mexico, the United States, Europe and China, the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack. Pumpkins that are still small and green may be eaten in the same way as squash or zucchini. In the Middle East, pumpkin is used for sweet dishes; a well-known sweet delicacy is called halawa yaqtin. In South Asian countries such as India, pumpkin is cooked with butter, sugar, and spices in a dish called kadu ka halwa. Pumpkin is used to make sambar in Udupi cuisine. In Guangxi province, China, the leaves of the pumpkin plant are consumed as a cooked vegetable or in soups. In Australia and New Zealand, pumpkin is often roasted in conjunction with other vegetables. In Japan, small pumpkins are served in savory dishes, including tempura. In Myanmar, pumpkins are used in both cooking and desserts (candied). The seeds are a popular sunflower seed substitute. In Thailand, small pumpkins are steamed with custard inside and served as a dessert. In Vietnam, pumpkins are commonly cooked in soups with pork or shrimp. In Italy, it can be used with cheeses as a savory stuffing for ravioli. Also, pumpkin can be used to flavor both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.
In the southwestern United States and Mexico, pumpkin and squash flowers are a popular and widely available food item. They may be used to garnish dishes, and they may be dredged in a batter then fried in oil. Pumpkin leaves are a popular vegetable in the Western and central regions of Kenya; they are called seveve, and are an ingredient of mukimo,respectively, whereas the pumpkin itself is usually boiled or steamed. The seeds are popular with children who roast them on a pan before eating them. Other than the traditionally defined pumpkin, commercially canned “pumpkin” puree and pumpkin pie fillings may contain other winter squashes, such as butternut squash.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are edible and nutrient-rich. They are about 1.5 cm (0.5 in) long, flat, asymmetrically oval, light green in color and usually covered by a white husk, although some pumpkin varieties produce seeds without them. Pumpkin seeds are a popular snack that can be found hulled or semi-hulled at most grocery stores. Per ounce serving, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil, a thick oil pressed from roasted pumpkin seeds, appears red or green in color depending on the oil layer thickness, container properties and hue shift of the observer’s vision. When used for cooking or as a salad dressing, pumpkin seed oil is generally mixed with other oils because of its robust flavor. Used in cooking in central and eastern Europe, it is considered a delicacy in traditional local cuisines such as for pumpkin soup, potato salad or even vanilla ice cream. Pumpkin seed oil contains fatty acids, such as oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.