India is the second-largest producer of vegetables in the world. It contributes to more than a quarter of total global vegetable production. India has its own National Vegetable, the Indian Pumpkin or “Kaddu” in the Hindi language.
What is Indian Pumpkin?
Indian Pumpkin is a vegetable that has originated in India, and it’s the national vegetable of India. It’s commonly confused with other similar-looking vegetables like squash, but there are many differences between these two types of vegetables.
Indian Pumpkin starts off green and then matures to orange or yellow when harvested. The skin can be either light green or dark green, depending on how much sunlight it gets while growing.
Inside, Indian pumpkins have seeds with white flesh that can be eaten and orange-colored fleshy pulp, which you might know better as a pumpkin pie filling.
Indian Pumpkin mainly originates from the southern part of India, and it’s used across many parts of India for various purposes like cooking, rituals, etc.
Kaddu can be found worldwide as well because it’s popular among people who love spicy food. It came about through cultivation by ancient Indians who planted pumpkins near their homes for food security purposes.
This was because they had to rely on the food that was available and Indian pumpkins were easy to grow.
Indian Pumpkins can be found in many different varieties, each with unique qualities of taste, size, shape, or color.
Some are sweeter than others depending upon where they’re grown, while some have more flesh for those who like it less nutty tasting. People differ in their preferences when deciding which variety is best suited for them.
Here are some varieties of Indian Pumpkins:
1. Arka Suryamukhi
Arka Suryamukhi is a variety of Indian Pumpkin that has orange skin and white flesh. The taste is sweet, like butternut squash, which makes it suitable for cooking and eating raw! It’s also great for making curries because the texture isn’t too mushy when cooked down with spices.
2. Arka Chandan
Arka Chandan is a medium-size variety with light brown skin and weighs approximately 2-3kgs. It’s sweeter than its other versions, making it perfect for cooking because the flavor will come through in your dish even if you’re using fewer spices.
3. PAU Magaz Kaddu-1
PAU Magaz Kaddu-I is a variety that is medium size, round, and turns yellow on maturity. It’s also charming, making it perfect for eating raw without any seasoning or cooking! You can eat this one whole because the flesh doesn’t get too mushy when cooked.
4. Punjab Samrat
Punjab Samrat is a small-sized variety with green skin. The pumpkin starts off green and matures to brown when harvested. It has more pulp than other varieties, making it perfect for baking because the flesh will hold together better in pies or cakes.
PPH-I is a variety with dwarf vines. It’s small, round, and turns from green to brown when mature. The taste of this Indian pumpkin is not as sweet, making it suitable for cooking with spices because the flavor will come through even if you’re using fewer ingredients. It also has more flesh than other varieties, making it great for pies or cakes because the texture won’t get too mushy.
This is a fast-growing variety of Indian pumpkins. It has skin that starts off green and turns brown when harvested. It’s medium-sized with less flesh compared to other varieties, which makes it perfect for stewing or making soups because the texture won’t get too mushy even after cooking down.
Indian pumpkin is a versatile vegetable, and it’s used in many different cuisines around the world. In India, for example, Kaddu can be found in dishes like Saag or Dhal Tadka, which are usually eaten with rice!
It also goes well as an ingredient of Kachori Pasanda (Paratha stuffed with potatoes) because its flavor will come through even if you’re using fewer spices.
In America, Indian pumpkins have become popular thanks to being featured on pies at Thanksgiving time.
Pumpkin pie filling made from kaddu tastes different than those made from other vegetables, though, so make sure you know how your recipe calls for before substituting! One delicious way to serve this healthy fruit is by roasting it in the oven and adding it to soups, stews, or curries.
It’s also a popular ingredient in other parts of the world like Italy. In fact, they make an Italian pumpkin dish called Pumpkin Risotto which combines kaddu with rice and spices for something delicious to eat!
Kaddu is versatile because it can be eaten raw or cooked without too much cooking liquid, so you’ll never have mushy vegetables when using this vegetable.
Health benefits of Indian Pumpkin:
Many individuals are not aware of the health benefits that Indian Pumpkins can have. These benefits can be.
1. Weight Loss
Indian Pumpkin is perceived to have fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion.
This vegetable is also low in calories and high in nutrition, making it perfect for those who are trying to lose weight!
It’s been shown that people eat less when they’re served dishes with kaddu as the main ingredient because the texture doesn’t get mushy after cooking.
2. Sharp vision
Indian Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A, which can help with night vision and eye irritation.
It also contains high levels of beta-carotene, which has been shown to prevent age-related macular degeneration or the world’s leading cause for blindness among adults aged 50 years and older!
In fact, eating just one cup of Indian Pumpkin every day will meet your requirements for this healthy vegetable, so it doesn’t have to be cooked before being eaten as well!
3. Better immunity
Indian Pumpkin contains a soluble fiber that can help improve your body’s immune response. Other benefits of this vegetable are that it has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut and reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes!
Another study showed that Indian pumpkins contain organic compounds called cucurbitacins, which were found in other vegetables like tomatoes and peppers but only at much lower concentration levels.
These organic chemicals may be responsible for some of their health effects by helping regulate blood sugar levels or reducing inflammation.
4. Younger-Looking Skin
Indian Pumpkin contains carotenoids that are an antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage to your skin, and it’s been shown in studies that people who eat more Indian pumpkins have smoother firmer-looking skin!
5. Lower Cancer Risk
Indian Pumpkin contains compounds that can fight against cancer. These chemicals are called cucurbitacins, and they help regulate blood sugar levels or reduce inflammation.
One study, in particular, found that these organic substances may be responsible for some of its health effects by helping to prevent free radical damage which the skin due to aging.
6. Potassium, Vitamin C, and Fiber May Benefit Heart Health
Indian Pumpkin contains high levels of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber which can help the heart.
Potassium is an essential mineral because it helps regulate blood pressure in the body while also helping maintain normal muscle function.
Vitamin C has been shown to prevent some diseases like scurvy, rickets, age-related macular degeneration, or AMD and reduce inflammation throughout your entire body.
It’s even shown to reduce cancer risk due to its antioxidant properties. Fiber from Indian pumpkins will promote healthy digestion with plenty of benefits for the rest of your body, including lowering cholesterol levels by preventing absorption and decreasing appetite, so you don’t overeat on junk food!
7. Incredibly multifaceted and simple to add to your diet
Indian Pumpkin is incredibly versatile and easy to add to your diet. This vegetable can be found in many dishes, from soups, curries, or vegetarian recipes like Indian vegetarian samosas.
It’s also a perfect addition for anyone who doesn’t eat meat as it provides an excellent source of protein with all the essential amino acids needed for maintaining muscles! It’s very low on calories but high on nutrition, making it perfect even during weight loss phases.
This is why you should include more kaddu in your life – especially if you’re looking to make healthier choices while still enjoying delicious food.
How Indian Pumpkin is used in Hindu festivals and rituals
In Indian festivals and rituals, the Indian Pumpkin is used as a symbol of wealth and health.
It is also considered sacred because it is believed that the Ganesha wears an eka-mukuta, which includes a large golden earring studded with rubies or emeralds. To please him (or her), Hindus offer Indian Pumpkin to the Lord Ganesha before performing puja.
In other words, it is believed that making an offering of Indian Pumpkin to Ganesha will make him pleased and ensure the worshiper’s prosperity.
This means that if a person offers an Indian Pumpkin to Ganesha, the Lord will give them good health, wealth, and happiness in their lives.
An ear stud made of Indian Pumpkin was also offered to the Hindu gods and goddesses in ancient times. Moreover, evidence shows that it was also presented to Lord Krishna by his wife, Satyabhama.
How much Indian Pumpkin is produced in India?
The average annual yield of all vegetables grown in India was estimated at 8 million metric tonnes (MMT) as per National Horticultural Board data of 2011, whereas the total production was pegged at 22 MMT. This indicates that the share of Indian Pumpkin in total vegetable production was 3%.
Indian pumpkin production in India was estimated at 527,820 MT during 2014-15. The overall yield of Indian pumpkins was around 493 kg per hectare for the year 2014- 15, which is far less than the yield of other vegetables such as tomato (790 kg), onion (584 kg), and chili pepper (952 kg) grown in India.
Where does India export its Indian pumpkins?
Indian pumpkins are widely exported from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The average annual export of all vegetables, including Indian Pumpkin, for years 1999-2000 to 2009-10 stood at USD 873 million, whereas the total exports in terms of value for all horticultural and agricultural products during this period were USD 7.9 billion.
How is Indian Pumpkin consumed in a different part of the world?
In South Asia, India Pumpkin is used as a traditional medicine to treat respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, asthma, and tuberculosis.
In the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, it is popularly consumed along with hot rice. It can also be pureed or cooked to make ‘gajjakayal’ and ‘sambar.’
It may also be used for various sweetmeats, such as halvaiyyappam, a sweet snack item in Kerala. In India, the Indian Pumpkin is also used as a vegetable. It can be cooked with rice and mixed vegetables or sauteed with spices to make curries and soups. The seeds from the fruit are consumed roasted or raw.
In other parts of South Asia, its leaves are used as a vegetable in various recipes, such as rosogulla, a popular sweet.
In the South Indian state of Kerala, it is used to make a chutney called ‘kappa chutti.’ In rural India, raw Pumpkin is usually consumed after steaming or boiling.
Additionally, the fruit holds medicinal properties and helps treat a variety of ailments. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory/laxative and to treat asthma and bronchitis.
In Sri Lanka, the fruit may be served with vinegar and chili powder or boiled with rice bran. The leaves of this plant are cooked as green vegetables in some regions.
In West Africa, the leaves are used to prepare ‘callaloo,’ a popular vegetable dish. The seeds are also roasted and eaten as snacks. The young shoots of the pumpkin plant can be steamed and eaten like spinach. Southern Nigeria’s Igbo cuisine is cooked with dry shrimps or palm oil with sliced green onions.
The Indian pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that can be used in many dishes, and the health benefits of this food are undeniable. With so much to offer both your taste buds and body, you should make an effort to incorporate it into your diet as often as possible.
Now let us learn about the National Fruit of India