There is so much that can be done with pumpkins. You can make a pumpkin pie, turn it into a soup, and even cut spooky faces into them! But many people turn a blind eye at pumpkin leaves. Are these made to be thrown away, or is there a way to make good use out of them?
Can You Eat Pumpkin Leaves?
When we think about pumpkin we think about that big orange squash, however plenty of us don’t think about the pumpkin leaves. What if we were to say that pumpkin leaves are edible after all.
To all you who have left those leaves behind, it is a shame to say that you have been wasting potential meals. Pumpkin leaves are completely edible and delicious too!
Where Can You Get Pumpkins?
When searching for pumpkins there are two places you can look – in stores or at a pumpkin patch.
Countless stores are found selling pumpkins but the peak time for selling them is during Halloween season. At a store, you will find pumpkins in a variety of shapes and sizes giving you plenty to choose from. This is a convenient way to get what you need.
With this option you may need to go out of your way to get your pumpkin but it is too much fun to pass. Make a day out of it and take your family to a pumpkin patch.
Pumpkin patches are areas filled with hundreds of pumpkins to choose from and offer a great line up. The only downside is that you can only really go to a pumpkin patch during Fall as this is when they are ready.
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Leaves
It may come as a pleasant surprise to hear that pumpkin leaves come with a number of great health benefits.
This is a plant unknown to most people yet is the one that can change a person for the better. These leaves are stocked full of iron and healthy vitamins which work to benefit people’s health.
Below, we will be listing some of the major benefits to incorporating pumpkin leaves into your diet.
Helps With Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition which can affect anyone and because of it people are having to change their daily lifestyle in order to cope. Whether that be through taking shots of insulin or measuring what they eat for every meal, diabetes can easily take control.
What diabetes does is affect how the body turns food into energy, so it is up to the individual to help out the process. Pumpkin leaves, however, may just be the answer. When eating pumpkin leaves, this is reducing the level of sugar within the blood and can even regulate glucose levels.
Cancer is a disease which has affected the lives of millions around the world.
Although we have found ways to reduce the cancer cases and fight against it, there is still no cure and there is much more research needed to be conducted; even those who survived cancer still have a chance of getting the disease again.
Fortunately, it has been discovered that pumpkin leaves work to fight against and, although not a cure, plays a huge role.
Pumpkin leaves hold a variety of properties including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which not only fight the illness but might prevent cancer growth.
Enables Healthy Skin
Pumpkin leaves are a Vitamin A rich food source and due to this, consuming the leaves will lead to glowing skin. Lotion and face masks can only do so much but consuming something natural can do even more.
By consuming pumpkin leaves you will be free from toxins and will not be at risk of damage to the skin. Watch as you notice the improvement in your skin!
Pumpkin leaves hold an incredible amount of calcium, enough calcium to strengthen our bones and teeth.
Not only is this a beneficial trait, however it is also good for those suffering with any joint pain. Remember to consume these pumpkin leaves regularly in order to see any results.
Good For Ageing
At some point or another will be start to feel deflated once we realize we are ageing.
Plenty would have looked at their reflection in the mirror and saw that one gray strand of hair and then eventually will you see a wrinkle. This will go one of two ways – acceptance or transformation.
If you are wanting to go down the transformation route then you are probably on the hunt for magic lotions and remedies when all you need is the help of pumpkin leaves!
Pumpkin leaves contain plenty of copper and this is a powerful antioxidant. In turn, this fights against radicals which enhance the ageing process and allow you to stay as youthful as ever.
How To Eat Pumpkin Leaves
Before delving into the cooking method, it is important to know how to prepare your pumpkin leaves. Although it may seem like the easy option, it is very important to not just cook straight after picking.
Consider where this leaf has come from, the dirt and the bugs which have crawled on it. Because of this, preparation is key.
When you first have your leaves you will notice the thick spine and spiked outer layer – to people unfamiliar with the pumpkin leaf, this can be enough to turn people off or believe it is inedible. Luckily, the spikes and spine are something which can easily be dealt with.
Clean Your Leaves
The first rule of thumb is to clean your leaves. To do this, place your leaves in a bowl and rinse under some cold water, making sure to thoroughly wash. By doing this, you are getting rid of any pests which may still be lurking.
Remove Spiked Outer Layer And Stem
The next step of preparation is to remove the spiky outer layer of the leaf and the thick stem holding it together.
Turn the leaf upside down being sure to have your hand on the stem. Then use your nail to puncture the top of the stem to start peeling back the outer layer until it is removed entirely.
This step requires some patience but is easy enough to do. Listen to music or watch your favorite television series whilst you do this to pass the time.
Now that your pumpkin leaves have been peeled, it is now time to cook. Pumpkin leaves are very popular in places such as Africa and this is something of an everyday dish for other cultures. But despite this, pumpkin leaves are much more familiar to us than you think.
The best way to compare the leaf when it comes to cooking is spinach. Spinach is a green vegetable which shrinks upon being cooked and because of this you need to add plenty to attain a decent sized portion.
Pumpkin leaves work the exact same way. If you were to boil these leaves then they would shrink down in size so it is essential that you add in more leaves than you think is needed.
Just like the spinach too, pumpkin leaves can be cooked in a variety of different ways – they can be boiled, steamed or just used as a garnish on top of dishes.
What Do Pumpkin Leaves Taste Like?
So, what should you be expecting when eating pumpkin leaves? To all those picky eaters out there, be assured that when it comes to these leaves there is nothing to worry about.
Pumpkin leaves are not bitter (not compared to other green vegetables) and hold a mild taste.
This taste is similar to the taste of spinach and green beans. Its mild taste makes for an easy way to sneak those greens into your kid’s lunch – they won’t even notice they’re consuming one of their five a day!
Pumpkin Leaves Recipes
Pumpkin leaves can be eaten in a variety of ways. The great thing about these leaves is how you have the freedom to make them how you want and are super easy to master.
Whether you choose to simply use them as a topping for a dish or you choose to incorporate them into your food, the choice is yours!
To give you a boost in the right direction, we have prepared a list of some of our favorite pumpkin leaf dishes for you to try out for yourselves.
This recipe is based on the traditional Zimbabwean cuisine, a much loved dish in Africa. This is quick and easy to make and calls for a great dish.
For This Recipe You Will Need:
- Pumpkin leaves
- Diced tomato
- Chopped onion
- Fresh cream
- Vegetable onion
- Salt and pepper
- First you need to wash, peel and cut the pumpkin leaves before placing them into a bowl on the side.
- You should then bring a pot of water to a boil, making sure to lightly salt it.
- Once at boiling point, add in your cut pumpkin leaves and let this simmer until the leaves are tender (this should take around 5 minutes but feel free to cook for longer if needed).
- Drain the leaves and place into a separate bowl.
- Sauté the chopped onion in vegetable oil and diced tomato, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Then add back your pumpkin leaves, stirring until it is well blended.
- To finish, add in your fresh cream and allow this to simmer for a few minutes.
Another recipe to pick is the pumpkin leaf curry. This is a great dish to share with loved ones and is sure to fill the whole family up with this wholesome meal.
For This Recipe You Will Need:
- 3 green chilies
- Mustard oil
- Turmeric powder
- Pumpkin leaves
- Pumpkin stem
- Mustard seeds
- The first step is to heat up a pan with mustard oil. Once this has heated up, add in the mustard seeds.
- Add in your bite sized potatoes, making sure to fry this thoroughly, before adding in the sugar, salt to taste and add turmeric powder and green chilies.
- Continue by adding in the chopped pumpkin leaves and mixing well for 5 minutes. You then need to add in 500ml of water, mixing this for another 5 minutes.
- Cover the pan and cook on a low heat until the water has dried and the pumpkin leaves have softened.
In this article we have taken an in depth look at the pumpkin, discovering the value pumpkin leaves hold. Not only are these leaves edible but they bring a lot of health benefits with them. They fight against cancer, strengthen bones, protects the health of your skin and plenty more.
Don’t be afraid to add pumpkin leaves into your everyday meals. Whether you want to incorporate the leaves into your meal or scatter the leaves on top of dishes, the choice is yours!
Places such as India and Africa embrace the pumpkin leaves for it promotes health and is delicious to eat too. Bring something new to the table and explore different cultures by indulging in the pumpkin leaf.