Cappadocia Pumpkins

Pumpkin seeds
Image via Wikipedia

Last Sunday I spent around eight hours in the farm, the longest so far.  Having reached the farm at around 9am we started with digging a patch of land, removing the stones (of which there is so much that I can build a Red Fort!) and preparing it with cow dung etc. The patch ready, we transplanted two-week old saplings of water melon and pumpkins. While the water melons were the hybrid variety which should fruit in the next 90 days, the pumpkins were not the ordinary ones you see at mall or with the bhajiwalla. These were pumpkin seeds from Cappadocia, Turkey.

During my trip to Turkey and visiting the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul I came across heaps of pumpkin seeds being sold along with other nuts. People bought them and merrily munched. It reminded me of childhood days when we munched pumpkin and musk melon seeds. Later while visiting Cappadocia, famous for its rock formations and volcanic eruptions which happened millennia’s back I unknowingly was at the home of the locally grown pumpkins.

Cappadocia pumpkin seeds are a delicacy in Turkey. I’m told the seeds are first cooked in milk and then sun dried. Grown on ash coloured soil with hardly any care, the flesh of the fruit is discarded for its seeds. As luck would have it I came across freshly harvested seeds being sold in a weekly bazaar in polythene bags and bought a kilo. Ever since my return I have been trying hard to grow them but have failed. The seeds were being gobbled up by rats.

This time I planted them on cocoa pith and was happy to see them germinate within couple of days. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and taking utmost care.  Hope the plant yield fruits. And if it does I would too happy to share it with you.

Pumpkin seeds provide a wide range of traditional nutrients. According to WHO, it’s a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein and zinc. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.   Besides maintaining prostate health, another reason for older men to make zinc-rich foods, such as pumpkin seeds, a regular part of their healthy way of eating is bone mineral density.

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