Some years ago a dear Sviss friend found this lovely book for me.
Now, with Salutiamoci celebrating the Pumpkin in November, I took it out starting to fold and read it again.
This book contains 200 descriptions of Curcubitaceae, it tells us the story of the Pumpkin yesterday, today and tomorrow. It also includes some interesting pumpkin recipes.
You can eventually eat everything of the Curcubitaceae and this big family includes also cucumbers, watermelons, luffas and zucchini (courgettes, summer squash).
The peel, the flesh and the seeds, all is edible.
We find the Curcubitaceae growing in every Continent, only in Australia it is not largely cultivated.
As it is a plant the loves worm climate, it has had a large development in the Tropics. No member of the family tolerates frost or cold soil.
Members of the family are fast-growing, with long-stalked, palmate leaves that alternate along the stem. Most species have unisexual* flowers, which are borne in the leaf axils and have five white or yellow petals. At the side of the leafstalk in annual species there is a simple, often branched, spirally coiled tendril. It is generally regarded by most botanists to be a modified shoot. There are five sepals in each flower; male flowers have up to five anthers, often fused or joined in a complex way, and female flowers usually have three carpels. The fruit in most species is a fleshy, many-seeded berry with a tough rind, often attaining considerable size. The seeds are flattened and sometimes have beautiful wings.
*Unisexual (imperfect) flowers. These unisexual flowers are either; staminate (male) flowers and pistillate (female) flowers. These unisexual flowers can be on the same individual plant (monoecious) or on two different individual plants (dioecious).
Most Curcubitaceae are dioecious (male and female flowers on different plants), rarely they are monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant).
For ex Watermelon and Pumpkin are dioecious, Cucumbers are monoecious.
Then there are some special plants like limon-cetriolo, Zitronengurken, Lemon-Cucumber which has male flowers but also hermaphrodite flowers.
Some cultivar of watermelon have male, female and hermaphrodites flowers on the same plant.
The Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is native from North India.
In Iran one have found cucumber remains from as old as 5000 years ago.
It is cultivated in all of India since 3000 years ago, and since 2000 years in China. This cucumber probably was the Cucumis Hardwickii
In the Mediterranean area the cucumber has been cultivated since 3000years and we know for sure that the Romans used already from the 5th Century b.C.
Cristoforo Colombo brought the plant to Haiti in 1494, from where it spread all over the “New World”.
But it is during the 16th and the 17th Century that its interest grows and becomes a common vegetable on all European tables,
The recipe comes from the book.
Pumpkin seed -pesto
50gr of toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
4 tbsp of pumpkin seed oil (cold pressed)
salt (not really needed)
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a little pan without any grease.
Put the seeds and the shallots in a blender, while blending add
the vinegar and the oil.
Savor with salt (I didn’t put any) and black pepper
It is perfect on a slice of bread (bruschetta), seasoning steamed vegetables or a fresh salad of raw vegetables (like turnips)
In the recipe the used Balsamico vinegar and 100ml of vegetable stock cube.
I didn’t add any stock cube as I liked the dry consistence of my pesto.
The pumpkin seed oil comes from Austria.
I recently read on Kochen & Küche 8/12 that the Stirian pumpkin oil has got the P.D.O (it is called g.g.A in Austrian).
You can read more about it here
This week WHB is turning 7!!
Haalo,Cook (almost) anything at least once is hosting the English version.
Thanks to, Kalyn di Kalyn’s Kitchen for this lovely idea and
Haalo,Cook (almost) anything at least once for managing successfully this event.
And also for giving me the opportunity to manage the Italian Version of WHB.