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Pumpkin Nutrition

pumkin

Origins and varieties

The pumpkin is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and comes from Central and South America. From there it came to Europe, where its cultivation was first recorded in the 16th century. In botanical terms, the pumpkin is a berry. Depending on variety, a pumpkin can grow to over a metre in diameter and up to 500kg in weight. A soft, juicy, orange-red pulp with seeds lies under the inedible and tough skin. In Germany, they are not just popular for making a lantern for Halloween, they are also extremely popular as vegetables.

Ingredients and nutritional values

With just 25 calories per 100 grams and a water content of 90%, pumpkins are low in calories and good for the figure. Pumpkins supply the body with the mineral potassium, which contributes among other things to normal muscle function, and with vitamin C, which is important for the function of the immune system. But the pulp of the edible pumpkin contains even more substances with health benefits. Beta-carotene, for example, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for eyesight and for protecting the skin and mucous membranes.

Nutritional values

based on 200g uncooked weight, which corresponds to around one portion of vegetables on the side

Energy: 50 kcal/206 kJ
Protein: 2.2g
Fat: 0.2g
Carbohydrate: 9.2g
Fibre: 4.4g (15% of the recommended daily intake of 30g)
Potassium: 608mg (30%)*
Phosphorus: 88mg (13%)*
Iron: 1.6mg (7%)*
Vitamin A: 1,666 µg (208%)*
Vitamin E: 2.2mg (18%)*
Niacin: 1mg (6%)*
Vitamin B6: 0.20mg (14%)*
Vitamin C: 24mg (30%)*

Source: The large GU Nutritional Information table, 2010/11. The recommended daily intake amounts correspond to the reference values for nutrient intake (2000) for an adult.

* of the daily recommended intake

butternut soup

Buying pumpkins

Cultivation in Germany lasts from September through to November, supported in the following months with imports from southern countries. When purchased, pumpkins should have a firm, undamaged skin and should still retain a length of stalk. They are often supplied cut up into pieces. It should be possible to buy them at supermarkets, farmers’ markets, farm shops and regional pumpkin festivals. Information on these festivals can be found in regional newspapers and advertising journals, or on the internet. All pumpkins can also be used as flowering pumpkins. Genuine flowering pumpkins, however, such as crown and warty pumpkins, are inedible as they contain the toxic and bitter substance cucurbitacin.

Storage

Winter pumpkins can be stored very well if they have not yet fully ripened, the stalk is still attached and the skin is undamaged. They reach full ripeness when stored in the warm for approximately two weeks. You can easily recognise a ripe pumpkin from the hollow sound you hear when you knock on the skin. If the pumpkin is ripe, the optimal storage temperature is between 10 and 13 degrees. Under these conditions, pumpkins can be stored for several months into spring. Edible pumpkins, which have been used for decoration for a long time, can still be used in the kitchen. However, these pumpkins should not have been exposed to frost during the decoration period. Otherwise the pulp might start to decay. The pulp from hollowed out pumpkins is also very suitable for freezing. There are various possibilities here: either grated, as cooked pumpkin purée, or in small pieces blanched for about two minutes just before being frozen, and it can then be defrosted and used in stews as required.

stack of pumpkins

Preparation

The pumpkin is an all-rounder: it can be fried, grilled, stewed, baked, boiled or used as a side dish. It tastes delicious when served as an accompaniment to meat and poultry. Other delicious options include pumpkin soup, stews, casseroles, compote and pumpkin bread. As pumpkins have an especially discreet aroma, they can be spiced up with strong spices, or enjoyed as a sweet variation with the addition of sugar or liqueur.

Try these recipes: