In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Can you eat pumpkin raw?” Also, we’ll explore how raw pumpkins can be prepared, what the nutritional content of pumpkins is, and what are the health benefits of eating pumpkins.
Can you eat pumpkin raw?
Yes, you can eat pumpkin raw. So long as they’re from a certified orchard and they carry little risk of transmitting foodborne illness.
Though they’re traditionally cooked or otherwise processed, it is possible to enjoy the taste of a fresh pumpkin by carving it, scooping out the seeds, and cutting away the rind.
Eating pumpkin raw is one way to guarantee that you’re actually eating pumpkin. As most processed varieties tend to actually be pulp extracts from sugar squash, which is allegedly sweeter.
Eating raw pumpkin may be slightly more nutritious. This is because when you pumpkins are cooked, the concentrations of some vitamins that are water-soluble can be lowered, along with some calories.
In short, cooking pumpkin can make the flesh slightly more palatable, but it also may slightly decrease the nutritional content.
How can raw pumpkins be prepared?
Here, we allude to the preparation of raw pumpkin not in the sense of cooking, but how it can be enjoyed raw.
Like a freshly sliced fruit, raw pumpkin can be enjoyed in salads, puréed, mixed with cottage cheese, made into smoothies, eaten with granola, or eaten as-is, like a snack.
Raw pumpkins can be cooked by braising, boiling, baking sautéeing, and many other methods, contingent on a chosen recipe.
They can also be cooked before being processed, which most commonly alludes to making them into a purée that can then be used to make pastries and other types of baked goods.
This has the added benefit that our readers can use actual pumpkin in their cooking, as opposed to sugar squash. Sugar squash tends to be processed and is more commonly found canned, and it is also higher in calories and sugar than pumpkin.
However, some readers may prefer the taste of sugar squash for their baked goods and confections, so ultimately, it may boil down to be a matter of personal taste.
Canned pumpkin (which is really squash) has a greater shelf life than fresh pumpkin, which may also be an important factor to consider when selecting a variety.
What is the nutritional content of pumpkins?
On average, one cup of mashed pumpkin, equivalent to a 245 gram portion, will provide:
- 49 calories – of which 1.5 are sourced from fat
- 1.8 grams of protein
- 0.2 grams of fat – of which 0.1 grams are saturated
- 12 grams of carbohydrates (4% of the recommended daily intake) – of which 2.7 grams are dietary fiber (11% of the RDI), and 5.1 grams are sugars
- 2.5 milligrams of sodium
- 564 milligrams of potassium (16% of the RDI)
Additionally, the same portion will provide 282% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 19% of vitamin C, 2.8% of calcium, and 7.8% of iron.
*Recommended daily intake values are based on a 2000 calorie a day diet.
What are the health benefits of eating pumpkins?
Pumpkins can provide many health benefits. These include being a food that is low in calories, high in nutrients, and that it can easily be incorporated into stringent weight loss diets.
Its low calorie content makes it ideal for substituting foods that are higher in calories, which can help dieters lose or maintain a healthy weight.
Its vitamin A content can help stimulate ocular health. It’s also essential for reproductive health, proper immune function and cell division. Also, vitamin A can help protect your cells from oxidative stress, caused by free radicals.
Chronic exposure to free radicals, combined with a diet that’s scant in antioxidants, can lead to disorders such as heart disease, liver disease, cancer, cognitive disorders, type 2 diabetes, and many others.
Additionally, the potassium found in pumpkins can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. It is also important for our muscles to contract, and it counteracts the effects of sodium in our cells.
The vitamin C and E found in pumpkins are also essential, due to their antioxidant activity and how they can protect you from premature aging.
However, despite all these benefits, pumpkins, particularly those eaten raw, may constitute a potential risk for food poisoning.
Namely, the water they’re irrigated with may contaminate them with bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella, both of which may trigger symptoms of food borne illness.
Many orchards strive to earn their certifications and guarantee that their produce poses no risk to a person’s health if consumed raw, but for this reason, it may be sensical to cook pumpkins, instead of eating them raw.
To summarize, pumpkins are nutritious and they can easily be incorporated into balanced diets, and combined with healthy, active lifestyles to reap their benefits.
In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Can you eat pumpkin raw?” Also, we’ve explored how raw pumpkins can be prepared, what the nutritional content of pumpkins is, and what are the health benefits of eating pumpkins.