The pumpkin has a long and esteemed history in the traditions of Mesoamerica. It is now a firmly established food and well-loved in North America and Europe. Here at Indigo Herbs we have included Organic Pumpkin Seeds as part of our wholefoods range and Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder to our Vegan Protein Powders range, plus a fabulous quality Organic Raw Pumpkin Seed Butter. The seeds can be enjoyed on their own or utilised in many cooked culinary dishes or salads. The Pumpkin Protein Powder is a great vegan protein source as well as a fantastic supplement for athletes and bodybuilders. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of the natural mineral zinc and also a vast range of forms of vitamin E.
This vegetable has always been given an air mystery since it is linked with the infamous Halloween. The act of carving out a face in a pumpkin is a tradition that originally came from Ireland and was brought over to North America by the first pilgrims. It is thought that this custom is based upon the folklore of a character called Stingy Jack who was condemned by God and shunned by the Devil to walk the earth with only a hot coal to light his path. The hot coal he put in a hollowed out turnip which is why we hollow out the pumpkin at Halloween. Long before the pilgrims arrived in the Americas the pumpkin was slowly being domesticated by the South Americans and Native American Indians. It is thought that these tribes grew variants of pumpkin as far back as 5,500 BC. Archaeologists have found that even before maize was domesticated these pumpkin variants were grown close to rivers along with sunflowers and beans. After maize was introduced pumpkin was grown along with beans and corn and where known as the three sisters. The beans acted as a nitrogen fixer which the maize would feed from while the beans used the maize stalks to climb upon. The beans would also help the maize remain upright on windy days. The pumpkin would shade the soil and prevent evaporation and weeds from growing. It was common practice to bury a fish among the three sisters to nourish them which completed a symbiotic relationship that helped all three grow to their fullest.
The modern round orange pumpkin is a member of the family Cucurbitaceae has been bred from the crooked neck variety of squash. The leaves are large, rough, fan shaped and very good at shading the ground from water evaporation. Each plant will creep along the ground until female plants produce flowers that eventually grow into large round pumpkins. The ground supports the growth of the heavy gourds as they mature.