Facts about Pumpkin

We found 20 facts about Pumpkin

Queen of fall

Pumpkin is a delicious, nutritious vegetable, and the undisputed symbol of fall. It is an indispensable attribute of the American holiday Halloween.

The pumpkin is an annual plant in the Cucurbitaceae family.
The Cucurbitaceae family includes about 1,000 species. These plants grow under natural conditions in tropical and subtropical areas, rarely in the temperate zone. They have a relatively largest share of the flora of dry areas of Africa. In addition, this family includes many valuable plants, consumed as vegetables and fruits (pumpkin, cucumber, squash, zucchini, watermelon, melon, Lagenaria, loofah, and many others).
The genus Cucurbita - pumpkin - includes about 20 species. The best-known cultivated species are giant, musk, and classic orange pumpkin.
  • A giant pumpkin is a valuable raw material for industry (distilling, baking, fruit and vegetable processing, animal feed). Its edible after-cooked flesh can also be candied or made into marmalade. Its seeds are also valued, both for direct consumption and processed into oil;
  • The classic orange pumpkin is grown as a vegetable, forage, and medicinal plant. It is included in the European Union’s Register of Cultivated Plants. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the New World (its seeds were found in Mexican tombs some 10,000 years ago);
  • Musk pumpkin has a similar taste and nutritional qualities as the classic orange pumpkin. It is also grown as an ornamental plant. In appearance, it resembles a large, yellow-beige pear. It is easy to peel, as its skin is thin and soft.
The pumpkin is native to South America and cultivated as early as 3,000 BC.
It was discovered by Indians living in the current area of Peru, who believed that pumpkins were created from the bodies of dead gods and were, therefore, an object of worship. Nonetheless, pumpkin was the basic ingredient of their cuisine, and they used the hollowed-out fruits as bowls and dishes.
It was a delicacy on the tables of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who served it fried in honey or grated - in a marinade of wine.
In the 15th century, thanks to Christopher Columbus, it found its way to Europe, where it was initially treated as an exotic decoration. However, over time, its culinary and health-promoting qualities were appreciated.
The French called it “le potiron” - a large mushroom, while the English called it “pumpkin.”
In addition to its culinary qualities, its health benefits were quickly discovered.
As early as the 16th century, books on pumpkins’ effect on the digestive system or reducing fever began to be published. It was also treated as an aphrodisiac for men, who were eager to consume pumpkin in various forms, especially before their wedding night.
Oil pressed from its seeds helps cleanse the body of all parasites and fungi.
The knowledge gained and applied to medicine in ancient times is still relevant today.
A pumpkin is a creeping plant whose shoots can reach up to 12 meters.
The shoots are hairy and contain clinging whiskers. Leaves are large, heart-shaped, with hairy edges. The root system of the pumpkin is well developed but shallow. Thanks to adventitious roots, it attaches well to the ground. Pumpkin flowers are intensely yellow and odorless. The fruit is a large berry, reaching a weight of up to 200 kg (the giant pumpkin can weight up to 800 kg).
There are around 800 pumpkin varieties, but only about 200 are edible.
The variety of pumpkin colors and shapes is impressive. There are white, yellow, green, black, mottled, and striped, and their shapes range from oval to onion-shaped.
Pumpkin flesh is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
It is a natural vitamin bomb containing B vitamins, vitamin C, E, PP, beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and trace amounts of selenium, copper, manganese, and zinc. The more orange the flesh is, the higher the carotenoid content. Pumpkin contains negligible amounts of fats and proteins and slightly more carbohydrates. The amount of fiber is essential in aiding digestion.
There is only 30 kcal in 100 grams of pumpkin.
It has a relatively high glycemic index of 75, which is why it is not recommended for diabetics.
Researchers at East China Normal University in Shanghai have found that a substance - D-chiro-inositol - found in fig-leaf gourd (Cucurbita ficifolia) pulp extract can replace insulin.
This substance stimulates the regeneration of beta-pancreatic cells in diabetic rats and regulates insulin activity.
Studies have shown that due to the high content of beta-carotenoids, frequent consumption of pumpkin reduces the risk of stomach, breast, lung, and colon cancer.
Beta-carotene also prevents the accumulation of cholesterol within the walls of the arteries, thus protecting them against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Besides, it regulates blood pressure.
The beta-carotene in the pumpkin ensures the proper functioning of the eyesight, especially at dusk.
It also reduces the risk of macular degeneration, inhibits the development of xerophthalmia (dry eye syndrome), and prevents damage to the lens and the formation of cataracts.
Pumpkin flesh serves as an antiemetic and is suitable for pregnant women.
Pumpkin seeds help fight motion sickness.
They are also recommended for treating parasite infections. Pumpkin owes its antiparasitic properties to cucurbitacin - a substance in the membrane surrounding the seeds, protecting them against microorganisms. Most cucurbitacin is found in fresh seeds; therefore, the treatment is best carried out in the fall.
According to folk medicine, pumpkin seeds reduce the enlarged prostate, improve sexual performance and sperm vitality.
Scientific studies have shown that eating them can prevent prostate cancer.
Pumpkin is a very delicate vegetable; it is safe to feed it to babies.
Pumpkin has extensive culinary use.
One of the largest cafe chains patented coffee based on pumpkin syrup - pumpkin spice latte has become a hit among consumers.
Apart from its culinary advantages, pumpkin seed oil is used successfully in cosmetics.
It is beneficial for hair and skin. It accelerates the growth of hair and nails, regenerates damage, soothes wounds and inflammations, and helps with acne.
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