Ahh, pumpkins, the golden (and other) hued harbinger of Autumn. Native to North and Central America, pumpkins were introduced to European colonists by the Indigenous peoples. Now these winter squashes have grown and evolved, playing large parts in savory and sweet dishes around the world. They have given rise to new pumpkin products like vomFASS Styrian Pumpkinseed Oil and Pepitas.
From Jack-o-Lanterns to pies and soups, the preparation of pumpkins must include dealing with the seeds residing within the squash itself. Whether you compost it, plant it, or wash the seeds off and roast them for fun, each family has a tradition with what to do with the scoops of goop from inside their pumpkin.
What are Pepitas?
In Spanish, pepita means little seeds of squash. You may have heard that “pepitas” is another term for pumpkin seeds. Yet, the pepitas at the store don’t look like the seeds that come from homegrown pumpkins. Pepitas have a fine papery skin, much like hulled sunflower seeds. So, are pepitas simply hulled pumpkin seeds?
The Naked Truth...
The truth is that pepitas and jack-o-lantern pumpkin seeds are not part of the same seed — they're not even part of the same pumpkin. They are, in fact, botanical cousins. As such, it is true that all pepitas are pumpkinseeds; however, not all pumpkinseeds are pepitas.
In the late 1800’s a natural mutation occurred in some of the pumpkins in the Styrian region of Austria where a recessive gene was expressed which created pumpkinseeds which did not have hulls. Naked-seeded pumpkins, also known as oil seed or hull-less pumpkins, are characterized by having a thin membranous seed coat (testa) rather than the hard, lignified seed coat that conventional pumpkin seeds have. This makes the entire seed edible.
Types of Pumpkins
While the world tends to think of a pumpkin as one kind of vegetable, it's fun to consider that there are different pumpkins for differing purposes. It’s the Howden pumpkins which are usually used for holiday décor and Jack-o-Lanterns. Sugar pumpkins traditionally used for pies. Styrian pumpkins used for seeds and pumpkinseed oil.
Today these hull-less seeded Styrian pumpkin varieties are known as Ölkürbis or literally, oil squash. Their naked, edible seeds are easily pressed to extract the prized Styrian Pumpkinseed Oil. While many studies have shown pumpkinseeds and their cold-pressed oil to be nutritious, we’d like to focus on its many delicious uses
If you’ve never tasted vomFASS Styrian Pumpkinseed Oil, we invite you to our tasting room to taste a bit of heaven. Gently roasted pumpkinseeds are cold pressed to extract this richly hued dichromatic oil. While deep green in color, when you hold it against the light it shimmers reddish. Its robust flavor coats your palate with a distinct nutty flavor, similar to roasted pumpkinseeds (and none of their carbs!)
Knowing how good it tastes (and how good it is for you) we’ve pulled together our Top 10 uses for vomFASS Styrian Pumpkinseed Oil. This oil has a low smoke point (320˚F) and tastes best when used in cool or warm applications. It adds a nutty way to shake things up across the menu, from cocktails to appetizers, mains, sides and on to desserts!
on scrambled eggs, squash, grilled eggplant, potatoes, or creamy soups.
into a quick weeknight salad dressing with lemon and vomFASS Sherry Vinegar.
with arugula and mint (instead of basil), pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts (along with garlic and parm) and replace half of the olive oil with pumpkinseed oil.
on a toasted baguette and top with chorizo and blue cheese for a brilliant appetizer.
with a block of cream cheese, a tablespoon of Dijon, and a quarter cup of chopped pumpkinseeds for a ridiculously easy veggie spread.
on frozen custard for an easy, yet elegant desert.
Check out some of our special recipes below to “pump” up your Thanksgiving menu!
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