Pumpkin Seed Oil
Botanical Name: Cucurbita maxima
Common Method of Extraction: Pumpkin seed oil is pressed from roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds. The seeds of the pumpkin are fed into a crusher to get a fine powder which is then wetted. The roasting process is done and this should be ideally done at low temperature to keep the flour intact and unspoiled. The roasting process is then followed by the pressing process where the seed oil is extracted with the help of high pressure. Finally the seed oil is refined for impurities and stored for distribution.
Parts Used: Seed
Note Classification: NA
Aroma: Nutty and characterstic
Largest Producing Countries: The original home of the pumpkin is Middle and South America and is indigenous in Mexico. The first pumpkin types came to Europe immediately after the discovery of the American continent. The other countries where pumpkin seed oil are produced are Slovakia, Hungary, North Ukraine, China, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, India, and former Czechoslovakia.
Traditional Use: Pumpkin seed oil provides phytosterols and this helps in blocking cholesterol absorption and reduction of blood cholesterol. Pumpkin seed oil helps in increase of hair growth in men. In women, the oil increases the HDL cholesterol and decreases diastolic blood pressure and reduces menopausal symptoms like headaches, joint pains and hot flashes. Consumption of pumpkin seed oil provides relief from overactive bladder symptoms. Pumpkin seed oil is used widely in variety of recipes especially in salad dressing and marinades. The oil is drizzled over pasta or roasted vegetables, mixed into dips or creamy salads like potato salad. In some places the oil is poured in small amount over ice cream. Pumpkin seed oil is not stable at higher temperatures while cooking. It has smoke point of 320F or lower and it is not the ideal oil for frying, stir frying, sautéing or other ways of cooking. Amino acid tryptophan present in the oil provides sound sleep when digested in the body. Steady intake of the oil slows down the stone formation and prevents it from reoccurring. The oil help in stabilizing the blood sugar which in turn helps weight loss.
Blends Well With: Majority of carrier oils.
Of Interest: Popularity and production of pumpkin have been known for almost 10,000 years. In the highly developed Inka, Maya and Aztek cultures, in addition to maize and bean, pumpkin was similarly a staple food. Pumpkin seed oil is also called pepita oil. There is enough quantity of carbohydrate in pumpkin and pumpkin seed but there is no carbohydrate present in pumpkin oil. The glycemic index of pumpkin seed oil is zero. The fats present in pumpkin seed oil are considered to be good fats and most of the fat in pumpkin seed oil is polyunsaturated fat, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The essential fatty acids present in the oil help lower LDL cholesterol and avert heart diseases. While consuming pumpkin seed oil you will get small amount of monounsaturated fat too and these fats are considered good fats. These fats help to enhance the HDL levels. There is no protein present in pumpkin seed oil.
Safety Data: Pumpkin seed oil is safe when consumed orally and in the right dosage. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should avoid using this oil in amounts greater than those found in food. It is better to consult doctor before using this oil.