I love the Sweet Pumpkin side dish known (Kannada) as Kumblakayi Palya served in Raghavendra Swami Mutta (temple). Over the years I have discovered that this vegetable is versatile and innumerable dishes can be cooked using this humble vegetable.
Other common names are Giant Pumpkin, great pumpkin, melon pumpkin, pumpkin, red gourd, red pumpkin, squash, squash gourd, Turks cap gourd, winter squash. In Hindi it is known as Lal Kaddu, Sanskrit it is Kusmandakah. Botanical name is Cucurbita maxima and belongs to Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin) family. Pumpkin is native of North America and North Eastern Mexico.
China and India produce the most in the world.
The Pumpkin plant is a creeper and can grow up to 5 meters. It grows very quickly. The leaves are large and edible. The tender stems are also edible. The huge flowers are yellow, and a delicacy is prepared by dipping them in batter and deep fried. Insects pollinate the flowers.
The plant is cultivated for its edible fruit. The fruit comes in different sizes. They can grow to giant sizes. It is deep Yellow or Orange in color and is ribbed on the outer layer. Each fruit might weight between 2 to 34 kgs. Giant Pumpkins can weigh up to 100 kgs.
The fruit is cooked, baked, or roasted and tossed in spices or herbs before eating. It is sweet to taste. The seeds of the fruit are also edible and are 1.5 cm long. The seeds are ground to a paste and added to dishes to thicken them, they are added in mouth fresheners and salads. pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc. An edible oil is extracted from the seeds.
In Canada and United States, Pumpkin pie is cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. During Thanksgiving month, Pumpkins are used in arrangements in public places like vineyards, hotel lobbies, and malls.
During Halloween, the pumpkins are carved as Jack-o’-Lanterns.
They make a bright arrangement on the porch with the lanterns and other Pumpkin carvings.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and an excellent source of energy, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. Pumpkin is used to feed poultry.
Native American have used Pumpkin as a medicine to treat many ailments.
Pumpkin can be grown from seeds. Plant Pumpkin in well-drained soil. Give proper support for the plant to climb. Ensure that the fruit does not fall off due to its weight.
Recipes using Pumpkin: