CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project September 2013
Community Nutrition & Health. No. 2
Versatile Pumpkin, the Nutrient Powerhouse Pumpkin is a popular, locally-grown vegetable with a number of nutritional benefits. Its colour ranges from pale yellow to bright orange, and its skin texture varies from smooth to rough (like the crapaud back variety). It has a hollow centre that is filled with many seeds held together by thread like structures. The crop is available all year round and sold in markets and supermarkets throughout the Caribbean at affordable prices. The pumpkin, which grows on a vine along the ground, is family to watermelon, cucumber and squash, a group of produce composed mostly of water that grows on vines. Why is pumpkin good for you? Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fibre, making it a good choice for controlling your weight. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, B vitamins (thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9)), vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene. It is also packed with the minerals: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese and zinc.
This factsheet is a product of the CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project. The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) is a program of Canadaâ€™s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).
A regular intake of pumpkin supports the proper functioning of many organs, such as the eye, which experiences better night vision due to the presence of beta-carotene. The abundance of the minerals; potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, help our nerves, kidney and heart to function more efficiently. The B vitamins play a vital role in nutrient metabolism, while iron, copper and manganese are needed for red blood cell formation and the maintenance of bone strength and density.
Storage tips There is no need to worry about wastage when it comes to pumpkin. If it is purchased in large quantities, all you need to do is wash, peel and cut it into small pieces, then parcel it into sealed bags to be chilled (refrigerator) or frozen (freezer). You can even save some of the seeds to start a home garden, and use the skin and thread-like parts that are attached to the seeds as compost.
Pumpkin seeds are famous for its richness of zinc, a mineral that plays a key role in muscle development and repair (healing), memory, taste, and smell. Healthy ways to prepare pumpkin There are many ways in which pumpkin can be prepared and enjoyed by the entire household. It can be included in savoury or sweet recipes, steamed with the skin if it is a smooth-skin variety, or consumed in its raw form by juicing. The seeds can be dried by roasting and eaten as a snack. The following are foods for which pumpkin can be used: Crapaud Back pumpkin
Drinks: • Pumpkin punch • Pumpkin juice (100% pure) Foods: • Pumpkin pie • Pumpkin bread • Pumpkin muffin • Cassava pone • Cook up (pelau) • Stews (meat or peas/beans) • Callaloo • Pumpkin soup • Grated raw in a salad • Steamed with the skin • Cooked with cereals Snacks: • Roasted seeds only • Seeds and fruit (nuts can also be included)
CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project