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The Pumpkin squash has a similar form and color to the classic pumpkin. Short and squat it has a smooth skin which is oftentimes lined with vertical indentations. As the squash matures, the outer skin turns from green to orange. The inner flesh of the Pumpkin squash is light orange and surrounds a large seed cavity. The seeds of the Pumpkin squash are edible and consumed as a snack food when toasted as well as for their nutritional properties. The flesh of the Pumpkin squash offers a mild squash taste with sweet and nutty flavors that are enhanced with cooking.
An excellent keeper Pumpkin squash is available year-round with a peak season during the monsoon season and autumn months.
The Pumpkin squash is part of the Cucurbitaceae family and botanically believed to be a member of Cucurbita moschata. It is the most abundant squash grown in India today and provides an important food source. In Hindi, it is also known as Kaddu and in Telugu as Gummadikaya and can be found at local markets when in season. Pumpkin squash is used year-round in Indian cuisine in both savory preparations and desserts.
Pumpkin squash is a nutritional powerhouse and an important vegetable in the Indian diet. It offers a significant amount of vitamin A as well as vitamins E, C, potassium, iron and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein. Additionally, it is rich in fiber which helps to make a meal more substantial and filling. Pumpkin squash also has a high water content and provides hydration as well. In India, the Pumpkin squash is believed to help support healthy digestion and can aid in the elimination of intestinal worms. Pumpkin squash is also used in India for it antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic capabilities. The seeds of the Pumpkin squash offer an even greater nutritional source and are rich in zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pumpkin squash is an important ingredient in Indian cookery. Pumpkin squash cut in half or large slices can be steamed, boiled, pressure cooked, or baked. Diced or shredded Pumpkin squash can be sautéed or roasted. One of the most popular preparations is the use of Pumpkin squash in curries both dry spiced and sauce based. Pumpkin squash is also a popular ingredient in Indian sweets such as kheer and halwa as well as sweet bread and cakes. In savory preparations, Pumpkin squash is commonly served alongside rice and daal or with bread such as nann and puri. Complimentary ingredients include mango powder, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, fresh coriander leaves, fenugreek, asafetida, chili powder, jaggery, yogurt, green chili pepper, mango, curry leaves, onion, saffron, ghee, milk, cashews, raisins, tomato puree, and mustard oil. Uncut Pumpkin squash is an excellent keeper and will store for three to six months in a cool, dry place. Once cut the squash should be used within one week.
The Pumpkin squash is an important source of food in India and one of the most mass consumed vegetable crops. It is popular for use in curries in all states of India not only for everyday meals but special occasions as well. Pumpkin squash curry without garlic and onions is a dish traditionally served at Hindu weddings and religious ceremonies. In Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, a curry of sweet and sour pumpkin is popularly eaten at times of fasting as well as for celebrations and religious ceremonies. In southern India, Pumpkin squash is also used to make the traditional vegetable-based soup known as sambar.
Though originally native to South America it is believed pumpkins made their way to India fairly early on in history. The Pumpkin squash is the predominant type of pumpkin grown throughout India. In fact today India stands as the second largest producer worldwide of pumpkins coming in second only to China. Pumpkin squash grows during kharif or monsoon season as well as in the autumn. They thrive in sandy, loamy, well-drained soils.
Recipes that include Pumpkin Squash. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Veg Inspirations||Kadoo ki sabzi (Squash Curry)|
|A Cook at Heart||Spicy Sweet Squash (Meetha Kaddu)|
|World of Vegetarian Recipes||Pumpkin Stew - Gummadikaya Pulusu|
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