Pump­kin and spice and ev­ery­thing nice!

The Luxury Collection - - Contents - -By Samyuk­tha Bangera

“Child, if you’d lost all your faith, I couldn’t be here. And here I am” said Cin­derella’s God­mother and with a swish of her wand turned the in­con­spic­u­ous pump­kin into a beau­ti­ful car­riage! And here hid­den in a fairy tale the pump­kin gets its sta­tus quo. This won­drous carotenoid dom­i­nant fruit re­ally knows how to un­der­play it­self. As we learn more about it one sim­ply can­not re­sist its var­ied tastes and health ben­e­fits. It lends it­self beau­ti­fully into gourmet recipes. Pump­kins are beau­ti­fully tex­tured and add warmth dur­ing those cold win­ter months. Seated com­fort­ably high on the nutri­tion chart the pump­kin has an ar­ray of in­ter­est­ing uses.

Pump­kin be­ing a nat­u­ral hy­drant makes it ben­e­fi­cial for weight watch­ers.

There are many cre­ative ways pump­kin can be in­cor­po­rated into meals, in­clud­ing desserts, soups, sal­ads, pre­serves, and even as a sub­sti­tute for but­ter. Yes, you read that right, Pump­kin But­ter! Imag­ine a but­ter you can gorge on with no guilt at all and is also a great but­ter sub­sti­tute with amaz­ing di­etetic ben­e­fits.

Fun Facts

Pump­kins con­tain potas­sium and Vi­ta­min A. Pump­kin flow­ers are edible.

The largest pump­kin pie ever made was over five feet in di­am­e­ter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pump­kin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

In early colo­nial times, pump­kins were used as an in­gre­di­ent for the crust of pies, not the fill­ing. Pump­kins were once rec­om­mended for re­mov­ing freck­les and cur­ing snake bites.

Na­tive Amer­i­cans flat­tened strips of pump­kins, dried them and made mats.

The largest pump­kin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.

Pump­kins are 90 % water and a hun­dred grams of pump­kin gives you 26 calo­ries, 0.1g to­tal fat, 0 mg choles­terol, 340 mg potas­sium and 7g car­bo­hy­drate.

Pump­kin of­fers 170% Vi­ta­min A, 15% Vi­ta­min C and 5% Vi­ta­min B-6, all this is based on a daily value of a 2,000 calo­rie diet

John How­den, a farmer from Mas­sachusetts de­vel­oped the How­den Pump­kin in the 1960’s, these pump­kins have a thick stem, shal­low ribs, thin flesh in re­la­tion to size and are per­fect for carv­ing. They are the most pop­u­lar carv­ing pump­kins in Amer­ica. Other va­ri­eties like the Kabocha, Sugar-pie and Car­ni­val thrive in the farm­ers mar­kets and are sought af­ter to use in cook­ing.

Pump­kin and Hal­loween

There is a line from a poem writ­ten by a Mas­sachusetts set­tler that goes “We have pump­kins at morn­ing and pump­kins at noon, if it were not for pump­kins we should be un­doon.”

The pump­kin boasts a celebrity sta­tus in the West. Hal­loween is not Hal­loween with­out pump­kins. Come Hal­loween, bak­eries and cof­fee shops stock their shelves with pump­kin flavoured treats, from muffins and lat­tes to ravi­oli. These tra­di­tions come with a his­tory of im­mi­grants from Ire­land and Scot­land en­ter­ing Amer­ica in the 1800s and bring­ing the tra­di­tion of carv­ing pump­kins in­stead of turnips as,their won­der­ful soft flesh was easy to carve and thus came the ex­is­tence of pump­kin jack-o-lanterns that are a house hold cre­ation in Amer­ica. Pump­kin carv­ing is a multi-mil­lion dol­lar in­dus­try; Amer­i­can farm­ers have for years ex­plored new ideas to breed new lines of squash es­pe­cially for carv­ing.

Mr. Pump­kins!

To top off all the cul­tural nu­ances of the pump­kin the TV show Satur­day Night Live in 2016 had Tom Hanks play a fic­tional char­ac­ter named David S. Pump­kins who wears a black suit with prints of or­ange pump­kins and dances to mu­sic. The char­ac­ter was cre­ated by Bobby Moyni­han; this char­ac­ter brought the mod­est pump­kin alive!

Pump­skin

Pump­kin has carved a niche space in the skin care seg­ment. It is packed with fruit en­zymes that boost cell turnover to brighten and to get smooth skin. Bath and Body Works, a pop­u­lar cos­met­ics and daily care brand went on to cre­ate soaps, lo­tions and such us­ing pump­kin ex­tracts in the fall of 2013.

Fit in the Sub­con­ti­nen­tal Cui­sine

Pump­kin has been around in In­dian cui­sine ever since the ex­is­tence of maize. Known for its abil­ity to burn fat, it is con­sumed ex­ten­sively in In­dia as part of the main course or an ac­com­pa­ni­ment. Pumkin por­riyal and sam­bar in the south to kadhu ka halwa in the north, it is palat­able to ev­ery­one across the sub con­ti­nent. Pump­kin is bro­ken at aus­pi­cious oc­ca­sions in In­dia. Be­lief also has it that a pump­kin tied to the post of the house door wards of evil and pro­tects the house bring­ing it peace, calm and pos­i­tiv­ity.

Pump­kin and Ayurveda

Ayurveda has a sig­nif­i­cant po­si­tion in In­dian his­tory and the pump­kin has a vi­tal place in this prac­tice. Pump­kin seeds for ex­am­ple have been used ex­ten­sively in Ayurvedic medicine and by those who prac­tice this diet. Pump­kin seeds are packed with nutri­tion in­clud­ing protein, min­er­als, B vi­ta­mins and amino acids like tryp­to­phan. These nu­tri­ents are known to sup­port blad­der func­tion and uri­nary flow. Due to their high tryp­to­phan con­tent, pump­kin seeds are known to help re­duce anx­i­ety and im­prove sleep. They also help bal­ance choles­terol lev­els and strengthen bones. Ad­di­tion­ally, the an­tiox­i­dants and es­sen­tial fatty acids in pump­kin seeds aid relief in in­flam­ma­tion of joints.

Hence, it’s time to treat your body with these won­der­fully nutty nour­ish­ing seeds.

Pump­kin and the Ve­gans

The Ve­gan com­mu­nity largely de­pends on plant based sources for their daily dose of protein and what bet­ter than pump­kins and their seeds as a protein sup­ple­ment. To make a ve­gan meal in­ter­est­ing and scrump­tious the pump­kin has paved the way to al­ter­na­tive dishes like pump­kin soup, ve­gan pump­kin ravi­oli and a guilt free rich pump­kin par­fait. The ve­gans have hap­pily em­braced this sun­shine yel­low fruit.

As ITC Chef Harpa­van says, “Al­most all the parts of the pump­kin plant: fruit, leaves, flow­ers and seeds, are edible” He says “pump­kin can be em­ployed in a va­ri­ety of de­li­cious recipes ei­ther baked, stewed or fried”. How­ever, he sug­gests it is eaten best af­ter steam-cook­ing in or­der to get max­i­mum nu­tri­ents. He con­tin­ues to share that, “In China, young pump­kin leaves are con­sumed as cooked greens or in soups” He also cites that, “Pump­kins are read­ily avail­able in the mar­ket year-round but buy com­pletely de­vel­oped whole pump­kin fruit in­stead of its sec­tions. To buy a good pump­kin look for a ma­ture fruit that fea­tures a fine woody note on tap­ping, heavy in hand and stout stem and avoid the one with wrin­kled sur­face, cuts and bruises. Once at home, ripe, ma­ture pump­kin may be stored for many weeks in a cool, well­ven­ti­lated place at room tem­per­a­ture” How­ever, he sug­gests, cut sec­tions should be placed in­side the re­frig­er­a­tor where it can keep well for a few days.

This hum­ble squash has been around for ages now. It is hum­ble be­cause it is easy to grow, de­mands less and pro­duces more. From farm­ers to kitchen gar­den en­thu­si­asts, the pump­kin does not let them down. It has in­spired many great chefs from the likes of Nigella Law­son and her de­li­cious pump­kin cheese cake to Jamie Oliver and his pump­kin spice pie. This fruit has had an unas­sum­ing be­gin­ning to a revo­lu­tion­ary change! The pump­kin has moved its way across ge­ogra­phies, cul­tures and culi­nary use. With all its di­verse uses the pump­kins have their root stemmed deep in the nutri­tion chart.

The per­fectly poised soul food wins palates ga­lore and is here to stay!

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