The pumpkin would have been created in Japan, precisely on the island of Hokkaido, around 1878 from the buttercup or Hubbard squash then introduced late in France in the 1950s. In English, the most popular variety is called “Red Kuri squash “. In France, it is called pumpkin, which is a combination of the French words for pumpkin (pumpkin) and chestnut (chestnut). In Germany, Red Kuri is known as Hokkaido, a name given after the Japanese island where Kuri was first developed.
Nutritional value of pumpkin
|Per 100 g cooked (about ½ cup)|
|Dietary fiber||2.4 g|
|Vitamin A||1760 µg|
* Data for other nutrients are not available.
Health effects of pumpkin
Vitamin A / Beta-carotene / Beta-cryptoxanthin
Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A. It contains twice as much as carrot. Retinol is one of the active forms of vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is one of the most versatile vitamins, contributing to several body functions. Among other things, it contributes to the growth of bones and teeth, maintains the skin healthy and protects against infections. In addition, it plays an antioxidant role and promotes good vision, especially in the dark. Pumpkin is also rich in beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, precursors of vitamin A with antioxidant power that limits oxidative stress and free radicals, molecules responsible for the aging of our cells. Beta-carotene may also improve certain functions of the immune system (1-2). In addition, these carotenoids are also studied in the fields of macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer such as lung, oral cavity, pharynx and cervix. On the other hand, the data are not yet convincing.
Cucurbitacins, compounds found in squash are also believed to have anti-cancer properties. More studies need to be done, because so far these have been done on cells (3).
It is important to note that carotenoids are assimilated more by the body when the pumpkin is cooked with a little fat.
Use of pumpkin
You can divide the squash in half, remove the seeds and then put it in the oven, flesh side down until tender. The pumpkin can also be cut into quarters or cubes and be boiled. The skin, once cooked, is quite tender so no need to be removed before consumption. Cooked squash can be added to soups, risotto, stews and curries. As a gratin, the pumpkin is excellent. The mash can also be used in dessert mixes like bread pudding, pies or muffins. Its flavor goes well with onion, bay leaf, fresh herbs, leeks, dried cranberries, white beans, mustard leaves, maple syrup, curry powder, grilled fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg, goat cheese, parmesan cheese and olive oil. The pumpkin can be stored in a cool, dry place away from light for several months. Choose a pumpkin that still has part of the stem because this slows down its dehydration. Its concentration of sugar and vitamins increases over time. Pumpkin can be frozen when cooked.
Word from the nutritionist
|Learn to cook pumpkin for its slightly different taste from other squash and the good dose of vitamin A it provides.|