But it appears the advantages outweigh the difficulties. In some areas, such as tropical Goa in India, pumpkin vines seem to grow effortlessly from seeds left in compost bins after the flesh is used to make curries. This crop becomes even more valuable when you consider the fact that little of the plant goes to waste – the fruit, the seeds, the flowers, the leaves and even the stem, albeit only the tender ones, can all be eaten.
Pumpkin leaves are eaten in some parts of the world, for example India and other South East Asian countries, and they also double as feed for livestock and marine life.
A crop that is easy to grow in harsh environments, that is nutritious, one that almost every part can be used in cooking, could be life-changing for communities living food-insecure regions. The four pillars of food security laid down by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation offer a framework to identify promising foods of the future – accessibility, availability, utilisation, and stability – and it seems the humble pumpkin ticks every box.
As we look to feed the planet, embracing the pumpkin as a superfood offers a sustainable path to nourishing a growing global population in a warming world.
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