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Pumpkin seed oil

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Title: Pumpkin seed oil  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cucurbita, Cucurbita pepo, Cooking oils, Phaseolus coccineus, Tourism in Slovenia
Collection: Cooking Oils, Squashes and Pumpkins, Vegetable Oils
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil factory in Prekmurje, Slovenia
Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca
Dried seed of Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca

Pumpkin seed oil (Kernöl or Kürbiskernöl in German, bučno olje in Slovenian, bučino ulje in Croatian, tikvino ulje or bundevino ulje in Serbian, ulei de dovleac in Romanian, and tökmag-olaj in Hungarian), is a culinary specialty from what used to be part of the Kingdom of Hungary and is now southeastern Austria (Styria), eastern Slovenia (Styria and Prekmurje), Central Transylvania, Orastie-Cugir region of Romania, north western Croatia (esp. Međimurje), and adjacent regions of Hungary. It is a European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product.

The oil is an important export commodity of Austria and Slovenia. It is made by pressing roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), from a local variety of pumpkin, the "Styrian oil pumpkin" (Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo var. 'styriaca',[1][2] also known as var. oleifera). It has been produced and used in Styria's southern parts at least since the 18th century. The earliest confirmed record of oil pumpkin seeds in Styria (from the estate of a farmer in Gleinstätten) dates to February 18, 1697.

The viscous oil is light to very dark green to dark red in colour depending on the thickness of the observed sample. The oil appears green in thin layer and red in thick layer. Such optical phenomenon is called dichromatism.[3] Pumpkin oil is one of the substances with strongest dichromatism. Its Kreft's dichromaticity index is -44.[4] Used together with yoghurt, the colour turns to bright green and is sometimes referred to as "green-gold".


  • Culinary uses 1
  • Folk medicine 2
  • Seed types and oil 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Culinary uses

Pumpkin seed oil has an intense nutty taste and is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Browned oil has a bitter taste. Pumpkin seed oil serves as a salad dressing when combined with honey or olive oil. The typical Styrian dressing consists of pumpkin seed oil and cider vinegar. The oil is also used for desserts, giving ordinary vanilla ice cream a nutty taste. It is considered a real delicacy in Austria and Slovenia, and few drops are added to pumpkin soup and other local dishes. Using it as a cooking oil, however, destroys its essential fatty acids.[5][6]

Folk medicine

There are claims from natural medicine and phytotherapy of usefulness of the oil in the prevention and treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.[7][8][9][10]

Seed types and oil

Pumpkin seed oil in a clear glass vial
A drop on a white plate showing dichromatism

Other types of pumpkin seed oil are also marketed worldwide. International producers use white seeds with shells and this produces a cheaper white oil. New producers of seeds are located in China and India.

An analysis of the oil extracted from the seeds of each of twelve cultivars of C. maxima yielded the following ranges for the percentage of several fatty acids:[11]

n:unsat Fatty acid name Percentage range
(14:0) Myristic acid 0.09-0.27
(16:0) Palmitic acid 12.6-18.4
(16:1) Palmitoleic acid 0.12-0.52
(18:0) Stearic acid 5.1-8.5
(18:1) Oleic acid 17.0-39.5
(18:2) Linoleic acid 18.1-62.8
(18:3) Linolenic acid 0.34-0.82
(20:0) Arachidic acid 0.26-1.12
(20:1) Gadoleic acid 0-0.17
(22:0) Behenic acid 0.12-0.58

The sum of myristic and palmitic acid (cholesterogenic saturated fatty acids) content ranged from 12.8 to 18.7%. The total unsaturated acid content ranged from 73.1 to 80.5%. The very long chain fatty acid (> 18 carbon atoms) content ranged from 0.44 to 1.37%.


  1. ^ Fürnkranz, Michael; Lukesch, Birgit; Müller, Henry; Huss, Herbert; Grube, Martin; Berg, Gabriele (2012). "Microbial Diversity Inside Pumpkins: Microhabitat-Specific Communities Display a High Antagonistic Potential Against Phytopathogens".  
  2. ^ Košťálová, Zuzana; Hromádková, Zdenka; Ebringerová, Anna (August 2009). "Chemical Evaluation of Seeded Fruit Biomass of Oil Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L. var. Styriaca)".  
  3. ^ Kreft, Samo; Kreft, Marko (November 2007). "Physicochemical and Physiological Basis of Dichromatic Colour" (PDF).  
  4. ^ Kreft, Samo; Kreft, Marko (2009). "Quantification of Dichromatism: A Characteristic of Color in Transparent Materials". Journal of the Optical Society of America (Optical Society of America) 26 (7): 1576–1581.  
  5. ^ "The Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds". Health Learning Info. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Healthy Cooking Oils". University of Kansas Medical Center. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Pumpkin Seeds". World's Healthiest Foods. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ Ejike, C. E.; Ezeanyika, L. U. (2011). "Inhibition of the Experimental Induction of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Possible Role for Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook f.) Seeds.". Urologia Internationalis 87 (2): 218–224.  
  9. ^ Gossell-Williams, M.; Davis, A.; O'Connor, N. (2006). "Inhibition of Testosterone-induced Hyperplasia of the Prostate of Sprague-Dawley Rats by Pumpkin Seed Oil". Journal of Medicinal Food 9 (2): 284–286.  
  10. ^ Hong, H.; Kim, C. S.; Maeng, S. (2009). "Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia". Nutrition Research and Practice 3 (4): 323–327.  
  11. ^ Stevenson, D. G.; Eller, F. J.; Wang, L.; Jane, J.; Wang, T.; Inglett, G. E. (2007). "Oil and Tocopherol Content and Composition of Pumpkin Seed Oil in 12 Cultivars". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55: 4005–4013.   Note: The data are found in Table 3 on page 4010

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