You can eat a pumpkin’s guts, seeds, flesh, and skin. So, if you think about it, almost every part of a pumpkin is edible. And just in case you didn’t know, pumpkin leaves are edible too. For that matter, if you’re growing pumpkins in your garden, you shouldn’t be neglecting those pumpkin plant leaves at all.
On top of being delicious, they are highly nutritious due to their high amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, a pumpkin leaf’s overall appearance might make it seem like they’re not edible at all. After all, pumpkin leaves possess a spiky exterior and a thick stem, which makes them seemingly inedible.
But with the proper preparations, you can readily add your pumpkin leaves to all your meals. And in this guide, you will learn how to clean pumpkin leaves.
Step-By-Step Guide to Thoroughly Clean Your Pumpkin Leaves
Before you incorporate your fresh pumpkin leaves in your recipes, here’s a helpful guide that you can follow to clean your pumpkin leaves properly.
- Step 1: Start by thoroughly washing your pumpkin leaves with running water. Doing this gets rid of pests and soil present among the leaves.
- Step 2: After thoroughly washing your pumpkin leaves, you can now begin pulling out the fibrous parts present on the leaves. To do this, begin by holding your pumpkin leaf through its stem, ensuring that you’re holding it in a bottom-up position.
- Step 3: The next step is to pierce the top of your pumpkin leaf’s stem using your thumbnail. After puncturing it, start carefully peeling off the fibrous strands of your pumpkin leaf’s stem and the leaf itself, including the back.
- Step 4: Continue and repeat this process for every pumpkin leaf.
The process of peeling off the fibrous strands can get very tedious. However, the process is overall very lengthy but not complicated, and doing the necessary preparations gives you a pleasant experience of eating these leaves.
You must also ensure to prepare a bunch of leaves to include in your meals. After all, these leaves will shrink upon cooking, so it’s ideal to have a big bundle if you want to include plenty of pumpkin leaves to eat.
Now that we’ve covered how to clean pumpkin leaves, here are some other tips you should consider when picking the perfect pumpkin leaves for all your meals.
Tips in Choosing the Right Pumpkin Leaves for Your Meals
When picking out pumpkin leaves to include in your meals, choosing the younger pumpkin leaves is ideal. This is because the younger pumpkin leaves are tender. While the younger, fresher leaves still have thorns present among them, they are much softer than their older counterparts containing thin, spiky thorns.
Additionally, younger leaves tend to be the tastiest, making them a good addition or substitute to other leafy vegetables for any recipe. On the other hand, older and bigger leaves often taste bitter and have more fiber present in them, so it’s best not to pick those at all.
If you’re harvesting pumpkin leaves you grow at your pumpkin garden, be careful not to cut the vine present in your pumpkins. It’s also recommended that you alternate in choosing between the small leaves to ensure that your pumpkin can still grow. And if you’re looking into growing your own pumpkins in your garden, here’s a helpful guide that will help you get started.
What Health Benefits Do Pumpkin Leaves Give You
As previously mentioned, pumpkin leaves are rich in various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and protein. So overall, eating pumpkin leaves provides you with a ton of benefits. Here are some of them down below.
1. Promotes good heart health
Since pumpkin leaves are rich in fiber, eating them promotes good heart health. Having enough fiber in your body will help lower your cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of getting heart disease.
2. Helps improve digestion
Other than promoting good heart health, fiber also helps with digestion. This is because consuming plenty of fiber will make your stool softer and prevent you from getting constipated.
3. Aids in better eye health
As previously mentioned, pumpkin leaves are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for improving your eyesight.
4. Improves bone health
Pumpkin leaves have plenty of calcium and phosphorus, which are both vital to keeping your bones and teeth healthy.
5. Provides you with healthy and supple skin
Pumpkin leaves are also a good source of vitamin C, which aids in healing damaged skin. In addition, the presence of vitamin A also provides your skin with natural moisture, giving your skin a radiant, healthy glow.
6. Aids your muscles in storing and transporting oxygen
As stated above, pumpkin is also rich in iron, which our body needs to store, use, and transport oxygen from the lungs to our other body parts.
7. Prevents infections
To add, pumpkin leaves are also loaded with anti-bacterial properties, which aid in fighting against infection.
8. Provides you with a good source of protein
Pumpkin leaves also provide you with a good source of protein. And our body needs a good amount of protein as an essential building block for our body’s bones, muscles, skin, and the like.
9. Lowers your blood sugar
Other than the benefits above, studies have also indicated that aqueous leaf juices found in pumpkin leaves help lower and regulate the glucose levels for patients who have diabetes.
10. Fights cancer
Pumpkin leaves contain beta-carotene, including other antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the risk of certain cancer. So with that in mind, it’s ideal to add pumpkin leaves to your daily diet in order to fight cancer.
How to Cook Recipes with Pumpkin Leaves
Once you’re done prepping your pumpkin leaves, it’s now time to cook them up. Of course, you can also chop them if the recipe calls for it. Besides, there are tons of possibilities as to how you can add pumpkin leaves to your meals. For instance, you can add them to your soups, salads, or you can eat them as they are.
Pumpkin leaves are not as bitter compared to other green vegetables, so you can easily add or substitute them in other recipes. For instance, if you dislike kale’s bitter taste, you can simply swap them with your very own pumpkin leaves.
Lastly, it’s also recommended not to overcook your pumpkin leaves. This is so that you don’t get rid of the nutrients present in pumpkin leaves.
This wraps up our washing guide article on how to clean pumpkin leaves. Growing your own pumpkins in your garden is highly ideal. After all, since almost any part of a pumpkin can be eaten, you won’t be left with a lot of wasted parts to throw out and make the most out of your pumpkin harvests.
So, now that you know that pumpkin leaves are edible, it’s time to think of creative ways to put them in your cooking. As long as you’re able to prep your pumpkin leaves before cooking them up, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal.