Friday, November 19, 2021

Pumpkin fruit

Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duch ex Poir) belong to the family Cucubitaceae. It is one of the important among the vegetable crops and native of Mexico and extensively cultivated in India, Africa, Latin America, Southern Asia and the United States.

Pumpkin fruits are sweet when ripe with yellow or orange flesh rich in β-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Pumpkin is a rich source of functional food components like vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers.

Carotenoids derived from pumpkin fruit can be used as natural food colorant. Pumpkin fruit is a crop with good preservation capacity but regarding good quality of product pumpkins generally cannot be stored beyond 90 days, even in ideal storage conditions.

Pumpkin fruits are picked when nearly or fully mature 4–6 weeks after flowering. The skin is variable in thickness, but soft, smooth and durable. The skin color can be from light to dark green, light to dark orange, and the pulp can vary considerably from brown, to completely white, bright orange to greenish light.

The pulp can be sweet, smooth and usually nonfibrous, and the seeds can be numerous, ovate-elliptic, with a yellowish white surface.

The fruit can be steamed, boiled or baked. Pumpkin also can be processed as a powder which can be used in drinks and soups. Pumpkin has vast scope of diversification for its application in the production of commercial products such as jam, jelly, marmalades, puree, sauces, chutney, pickle and halwa, cookies and weaning mix, pies and beverages.

Pumpkin flour could be used to supplement cereal flours in bakery products, soups, instant noodles and natural coloring agent in pasta and flour mixes. Pumpkin seeds, generally thrown away are otherwise, a rich source of oil and nutrients and could be consumed as food. The seed flour is used as a protein supplement in bread and cookies.
Pumpkin fruit

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