We are already deep into autumn, surrounded by gifts of nature that are extremely beneficial for our health. One of these gifts are pumpkin.
They belong to the botanical group of pumpkins (Cucurbitaceae). In Slovenia, we know several types of pumpkins, which can be of different shapes and colors, with orange shades predominating. The most common are butternut squash, nutmeg squash, Hokkaido squash, and butternut squash. Pumpkins come from South America and came to Europe in the first half of the 16th century. Grow on climbing stems and cling to themselves with tendrils. In the center of the fruit are seeds.
Pumpkin composition and health effects
Pumpkin flesh is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene – provitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium. In addition to these, pumpkins also contain other biologically active substances such as polysaccharides, sterols, and proteins. Due to their antioxidant content, they support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative stress, which produces free radicals.
Pumpkins contain seeds that can be eaten as a snack or added to meals, and can also be processed into pumpkin oil. The dried seed contains 35 to 55% fat, of which 17% is saturated, 22% monounsaturated, and 61% polyunsaturated fatty acids, which represents a fairly favorable fatty acid composition. Pumpkin oil also contains a lot of minerals, vitamin E, and phenolic substances.
….and some interesting facts about pumpkins…..
Carved pumpkins chase away evil spirits
Pumpkin carving, which is one of the most famous Halloween activities today and is often seen in our country, did not become popular until the 16th century in the United States. This custom is connected to the legend of Jack the Blacksmith, who tricked the devil.
Jack was known for his conceit and miserliness. One day he offered his soul to the devil in exchange for a drink and tried to trick him. The devil turned into a coin so Jack could use it to pay for a drink. He put the coin in his pocket, which had a cross in it, so the devil could not change back. The devil promised Jack that he wouldn’t claim his soul for 10 years, so he pulled it out of his pocket. After ten years, Jack tricked the devil again by asking him for an apple. When it turned into a stem and gave him an apple, Jack drew a cross on it. The devil could not change back again. Because of his sins, Jack was not admitted to heaven after his death, but was met by the devil at the gates of hell and sent back to darkness. He helped him by giving him an ember of charcoal. Jack, having a turnip in his pocket, inserted the ember into it by hollowing it out, and then walked with it in the gloom. He never found his way home again and thus became a symbol of the soul that is cursed and wanders between worlds.