I am always learning something new about Slovenia. This time it is Pumpkin Seed Oil from Štajerska and Prekmurje. In these parts of Slovenia, they have been growing pumpkins since the 18th century and turning the seeds into oil. Farmers found that the pumpkin itself wasn’t edible and the pulp is used as fertilizer.
Farmers found that the pumpkin itself wasn’t edible and the pulp is used as fertilizer. In the fall, the pumpkins are picked by hand and the green seeds then are washed, dried and roasted. As many as 30 to 40 pumpkins are needed to make 1 liter of oil.
This little-known specialty has come into vogue with chefs from New York to Toyko. The oil can be drizzled over salads (including potato salad and coleslaw) and into soups or used as a dip for bread. It‘s intensely nutty flavor tastes really good over vanilla ice cream.
Nutritionally, pumpkin seed oil oozes of good health; pumpkin seed oil might even be healthier than olive oil. Not only does it have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, it is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D, E and K, magnesium, iron, calcium and Omega-3 and Omega-6. The oil has been found to be helpful in preventing bladder and prostate problems. It has also been used to maintain weight loss, help relieves muscle fatigue, arthritis and help regulate cholesterol levels. It is also loaded with zinc and can help boost the immune system. This food almost sounds like a wonder drug. The following salad dressing recipe is one example how to use this wholesome
The following salad dressing recipe is one example how to use this wholesome oil. I learned most Slovenian cooks just blend a little pumpkin seed oil with their regular oil and toss a green salad with the usual apple cider vinegar and salt.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing (By Thorsten: taken from Food) “The use of pumpkin seed oil gives this salad dressing a unique nutty flavor. A mild honey, in addition with the aceto balsamico, will give the dressing a fruity sweetness. Dijon mustard will top it off with slight pepperiness. This dressing works fine with any kind of lettuce.”
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon aceto balsamico, preferably blanco
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin seed oil
- 1 pinch salt
- Put all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Whisk together with a fork or small whisker until emulated.
- Dressing is enough for about 16-20 cups lettuce. Use some toasted pumpkin seeds for topping.
By: Tony Snyder