We have always had it close (in fact, it grows practically all over the world) but for many years we have paid little attention to it, perhaps because of its rough appearance or because it pushed us back from its hard skin, which made it seem unapproachable. Or because, because of its sweet taste, we thought it was too caloric, or of very limited use. Well, nothing is further from reality. If the pumpkin is the great orange queen of autumn, it is also because of its health benefits and its culinary possibilities.
Pumpkin is a berry. Giant, but berry. There are a lot of varieties, and although we have always believed that it was a cousin of the zucchini, it turns out that it is rather its older sister. A zucchini is a very young squash, before its skin has hardened. In Spain, the most common variety is the ‘butternut’, the one that is shaped like a giant peanut, but you can also find the confectionery, the butternut of Provence …
Despite its solid appearance, pumpkin has a high percentage of water (95%), and few calories, about 49 per 100 g, which makes it a good option in weight loss diets. One of its great nutritional virtues is its high content of beta-carotenes, which give it its wonderful orange color, and are powerful antioxidants. As for vitamins, it stands out for its high content of vitamin A. One hundred grams of pumpkin contain 245% of the recommended daily amount.
HOW TO EAT IT
The pumpkin recipe book is endless. In fact, it is possible to take it raw, in the form of juice (with a little cinnamon, for example) if you have a blender, or as part of ‘smoothies’ (it can be mixed with almond milk, ginger and banana). On the other hand, contrary to what is usually thought, it cooks quite quickly, so we can add it to a vegetable wok, without previously cooking it, and it will work wonderfully. In stews, accompanying legumes is fantastic (in fact it is a basic component, along with the cabbage, zucchini and chickpeas of the stew that accompanies a couscous as required by the canons). In Iran, fiddle squash is baked and served with a sauce of yogurt, chopped parsley, and spicy pickled chili peppers; In Turkey it is prepared, among many other ways, candied and with nuts, and in the United States the pumpkin pie that is prepared for Halloween is famous.