Pumpkin is a variety of squash that we love so much in our Thanksgiving pies. We also see them everywhere during Halloween. Although it is named after pumpkin, pumpkin spice doesn’t taste anything like pumpkin. There is not a shred of pumpkin in pumpkin spice. The mix of ingredients in the pumpkin spice doesn’t even accentuate the true taste of the pumpkin.
However, our focus is not on pumpkin spice. Our focus is to try to accurately describe what the real pumpkin tastes like. We can’t do that without pointing out that it doesn’t taste anything like the pumpkin spice we all know.
What does pumpkin taste like? Fresh pumpkin has a bright flavor that tastes sweet. That sweetness can be accentuated by roasting it. If you are thinking about winter squashes when it comes to pumpkins, you are on the right path. There are different varieties of pumpkins and their taste differs.
The true taste of pumpkin will not come from the canned variety. When you try to eat pumpkin raw, the taste could be another story entirely. Even the sweetest variety of pumpkin might not taste sweet.
There are several ways you can use pumpkin in recipes and dishes. But, it has a nutritional value that can help the overall health of the human body.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin has a very impressive nutrition profile. It is usually viewed as a vegetable, but because it has seeds, it is classified as a fruit. 94% percent of pumpkin is water, and it contains micronutrients like vitamin A, C, E, and B2. You would also get substantial amounts of manganese, iron, potassium, fiber, protein, carbs, and an almost negligible amount of fat.
Pumpkin contains a ridiculously high amount of Vitamin A. This makes it perfect for eye health. Pumpkin also has high levels of carotenoid beta-carotene. This carotenoid can be transformed in the body into more vitamin A. Pumpkin classifies as a healthy fruit because it has a lot of vitamins, low calories, and almost zero fat.
Pumpkin plays host to antioxidants that relieve the body of oxidative stress. They tackle free radicals in the body and protect cells from damage. In doing so, pumpkin can help keep chronic illnesses and diseases away if it is included in one’s diet.
Test tube studies and tests on animals have shown that these antioxidants can protect the eyes and skin from the damaging effects of the Sun. It can reduce the risk of formation of cancerous cells and slow down their spread if there are any present.
The low-calorie count of pumpkin is an advantage. Since it is very densely packed with nutrients, a moderate amount can provide the human body with the proper amount of nutrition without the danger of weight gain. Pumpkin can help promote weight loss because you can consume more of it without having to worry about your waistline, unlike some other foods.
Culinary Uses of Pumpkin
Whenever you want to do anything with pumpkin, you have to scoop out the seeds. But that doesn’t mean you should throw them away. Pumpkin seeds are nutritious and a good source of fiber. They have that crunchy feel that would make for a great contrast to whatever you are adding it to. The seeds can be roasted or added to baked goods to give you a satisfying crunch when you chomp down on them.
Pumpkin seeds are not all that is edible about pumpkin. Because of the hard texture of the pumpkin skin, it is perfect for making Jack-o-lanterns, but not so great for eating. Many people prefer to peel the skin off the pumpkin before eating it.
If peeling would be too much stress, you can roast the pumpkin, skin, and all. Then eat the flesh by scooping it out of the skin. When the pumpkin is grated, it fits perfectly into the batter for baked goods. Be it cakes or muffins, you can give them a makeover with the addition of pumpkin and spice like cinnamon that pairs well with it.
Pumpkin can be added to soups, quick pasta, or served with roast meat. If you do not fancy jack-o-lanterns, you can still make use of your carved pumpkin in the kitchen. The stuffed pumpkin recipe is flexible and could bring innovation to your dining table.
Where Does Pumpkin Grow? How to Procure It?
The English word pumpkin is derived from the Greek word pepon which means melon. Pumpkin has its roots in North-Eastern Mexico and the Southern United States.
Evidence of pumpkin fragments has been found in Mexico. With the help of carbon dating, these fragments have been dated back to around 7000 BC and 5500 BC. In present times, pumpkin is grown all over the world where the climate supports its cultivation.
Pumpkins are not hard to procure, you can get them at grocery stores, or farmers’ markets.
Does Pumpkin Taste Like Sweet Potato?
Yes, it does. However, there is a light contrast. Potatoes have a starchy taste to them, while pumpkins have a taste with a nutty and subtle flavor. Potatoes have a much denser flavor than pumpkins.
Facts You Don’t Know About Pumpkin
- Out of the seven continents in the world, Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkin cannot be grown.
- The popular pumpkin we see made into jack-o-lanterns during Halloween is of the Connecticut field variety.
- As of 2018, the volume of the world’s production of pumpkins was at 27.6 million tonnes. China and India account for about half of that total, while countries like Russia and Ukraine produce about 1 million tonnes each.