Pumpkin


Native to North America, pumpkins carry a name originating from the Greek pepon (πέπων), meaning “large melon". Inside the thick, orange or yellow shell, the flesh is sweet and honied. They are a particularly good source of fibre, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals.

Taste:

Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. In the United States, pumpkin is a very popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple.

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America, it is a very important, traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten mashed and making its way into soups and purees. Often, it is made into pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holiday.

In the Middle East, pumpkin is used for sweet dishes; a well-known sweet delicacy is called halawa yaqtin. In South Asian countries such as India, pumpkin is cooked with butter, sugar, and spices. In Guangxi province, China, the leaves of the pumpkin plant are consumed as a cooked vegetable or in soups. In Australia and New Zealand, pumpkin is often roasted in conjunction with other vegetables. In Japan, small pumpkins are served in savory dishes, including tempura. In Myanmar, pumpkins are used in both cooking and desserts. In Thailand, small pumpkins are steamed with custard inside and served as a dessert. In Italy, it can be used with cheeses as a savory stuffing for ravioli.

The seeds, often roasted and eaten as a snack, are almost as popular as sunflower seeds.

A good pumpkin should feel heavy and have smooth, firm skin. Smaller pumpkins tend to have more flesh.

Nutrition:

The color of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body.Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits, as they are a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins, and they are even said to lower cholesterol. One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium and manganese.

Halloween

Pumpkins are commonly carved into decorative lanterns called jack-o'-lanterns for the Halloween season in North America. Throughout Britain and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. Not until 1866, does jack-o'-lantern appear as the name for a carved pumpkin lantern.

In the United States, the carved pumpkin was first associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became an emblem of Halloween.

Source:Wikipedia