Pumpkin is the gourd like fruit of a plant belonging to the botanical family of Cucurbitaceae. They typically have a thick, yellow or orange shell which contains orange pulp and seeds. The pumpkin plant is a creeping vine and is commonly grown with other supportive crops. In Sri Lanka pumpkins are cultivated in the dry zones throughout the year.
The word pumpkin originates from the Greek word “pepon” which means large melon. The size of a pumpkin can vary from 1 pound to over 1000 pounds and the shape from spherical to oblong. In addition to its culinary uses, pumpkins are used for recreational purposes during Halloween.
Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable and can be boiled, baked, roasted or steamed. When cooked it has a soft, creamy texture, and tastes mildly sweet. Due to the high starch content it is commonly used to thicken soups and to prepare purees. Preliminary research findings suggest that pumpkins contain chemicals which help reduce blood sugar levels. The most notable nutrient found in pumpkin is Vitamin A, and a 100g serving contains half the daily requirement.
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