This garden squash is an annual, herbaceous plant of the cucurbitaceae family. The monoecious plant with recumbent, partly climbing stems and widely branched tendrils forms cup-shaped, yellow flowers, from which develop, depending on the variety, tank berry fruits which can grow to 30 kilograms in size. Most species grow in hot lowland areas with pronounced rainy and dry seasons and require a lot of sunlight. All pumpkin species are sensitive to frost. The seeds are flat, oval and have a thickened rim.
The pumpkin is native to Central America (Mexico/Peru), where it was domesticated 8-10,000 years ago. Early on the pumpkin came to Europe and was cultivated here as well. Today, pumpkins are grown worldwide.
The mineral-rich, mildly nutty-tasting pumpkin seeds are partly roasted and salted as a snack. Particularly popular are the tasty, Styrian pumpkin seeds dark green in colour, which are processed into pumpkin seed oil and used in salads and muesli. In the bakery industry, peeled, Chinese pumpkin seeds are almost exclusively used. They are used, for example, in bread, as a topping for rolls and in other baked goods. The largest variety are the bright green ‘Shine Skin’, which are grown in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The shell-less grown ‘GWS’ pumpkin seeds (grown without shell) are similar to Styrian seeds and come from Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Gansu. The ‘Snow White’ varieties are also bright, but not as popular due to their silvery seed skin and come mainly from Heilongjiang.