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Pumpkin, Winter squash
Scientific name: Cucurbita maxima Français: Potiron, Courge Español: Ahuyama, Zapallo Deutsch: Speisekürbis, Riesenkürbis, Zucca
Pumpkins belong to the botanical family of gourds (bot.: Cucurbitaceae) and are fruit vegetables. Their name stands for a large family of different species. Pumpkins originated in South America but are nowadays cultivated worldwide. Its popularity is partly due to the fact that pumpkins can be stored for months without cooling. In their main growing countries in South America, South East Asia and Africa they are of high nutritional importance. Although pumpkins consist almost completely of water (ca. 95%), they are rich in carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamin C.
The seeds of pumpkins are sold dried (and often salted). They are also used to press dark and aromatic oil that goes excellent with mushroom- or zucchini salads. Dried, no matter if salted, unsalted or roasted, they are a delicious and healthy snack or can be used as a supplement or decoration of leaf salads. Pumpkin seeds are supposed to help with bladder ailments.
Preparation of pumpkin
Pumpkin flesh is yellow to orange, contains vitamin A and cannot be eaten raw.
It is still very versatile in its preparation. The most popular way to prepare pumpkin is pumpkin soup. In Mexico, China and Africa it is used in chutneys or purees with ginger, garlic and/or chillies. At the end of October Halloween is celebrated in the United States. Pumpkins carved to Jack O'Lanterns are an important tradition at Halloween.