As soon as the days get cooler and the evenings darker, I have a craving for creamy pumpkin soup. In general, I could eat pumpkin every day in autumn, in all variations. But what is the deal with pumpkin? Why does our body ask for it precisely on those first cooler days?
Well, there are good reasons to listen to our seasonal gut feeling – if you have it. Today’s supermarkets, which offer various fruits and vegetables all year round, do not make it easy for us to shop seasonally. To know what is currently in season and what is not, it helps to have a look at our AYA season calendar, which you can buy here.
Pumpkin: nutrients for the cold days
There are plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber in pumpkin flesh. These include beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A, has an antioxidant effect in the body), potassium (good for the heart), calcium (an important component of bones and teeth), magnesium (for nerves, muscles, heart and fat and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as bones and teeth involved), iron (responsible for oxygen transport, oxygen storage in muscles and energy metabolism) as well as fiber, which regulates digestion, transmits blood lipid values and regulates cholesterol values. Pumpkin is also extremely low in calories: the pulp contains only 25 calories per 100 grams.
Pumpkin seeds make you healthy – and happy!
The kernels also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. They boost the production of the hormone serotonin, also known as the “happiness hormone”. Cores contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects and have a positive effect on fat metabolism. Pumpkin seeds are not as low in calories as the pumpkin itself, so it is best not to consume more than a handful a day.
Pumpkin seed oil – rich in vitamins and good for the cardiovascular system
In addition to the healthy pulp and the seeds, there is another treasure in the pumpkin: pumpkin seed oil. It contains vitamin E and linoleic acid, which can lower high cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Pumpkin seed oil should not be heated so that the ingredients can work their magic.
Storing and preserving pumpkin
Pumpkins should be stored in a cool place, at 10 to 13 degrees. Whole specimens keep for several months. Sliced pumpkins stay fresh in the refrigerator for a good two days, individual pieces can be blanched and frozen – they can then be kept frozen for around four months. In principle, every pumpkin can also be eaten raw without hesitation, although most varieties simply taste better cooked. But beware of decorative pumpkins (aso known as gourds): although they are a feast for the eyes, they are generally not suitable for consumption. The bitter substance cucurbitacin can cause nausea and abdominal pain.
Fancy a pumpkin? Then look at our Pinterest page. We have collected our favorite pumpkin recipes there. You can also find video instructions for a “Pumpkin Spice Latte” on our Instagram channel.