Pumpkin seeds - history, varieties, useful properties, applications.

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Pumpkin seeds - history, useful properties, applications.People have been eating very tasty and healthy fruits of pumpkin plants for a long time. These include not only the pumpkin itself, but also zucchini, squash, cucumbers and even watermelons with melons. Other plants unknown in our country are also considered pumpkin - chayote (Mexican cucumber), momordica, wax pumpkin (benincasa) and luffa.
Such a large family has an ordinary pumpkin. All these seemingly different cultures have a lot in common. All pumpkin plants are annuals. Some of them have a complex antennae and creeping stems up to ten meters long. The fruits are located on their side branches. Others grow in bushes, with low shoots.

The fruits of pumpkin plants are not only tasty, but also healthy. They contain many vitamins, including keratins, which protect against sun damage. Moreover, pumpkin contains 12 times more of them than carrots.

The pumpkin itself is also different. The famous scientist K. Linney named three cultivated types of pumpkin. The American scientist Bailey surveyed areas of Guatemala, Honduras and the southern states of the United States and described 18 varieties of its wild species.

Russian scientists distinguish five cultivated and sixteen wild species. Of the cultivated subspecies, the most common are large-fruited, hard-barked and nutmeg pumpkins.

Pumpkin fruits are considered the largest plants in the world. In 1987, a pumpkin weighing 186 kilograms was presented at an exhibition in the USA, and a year later even more - 213 kilograms. Obviously, it was a large-fruited pumpkin, the usual weight of which reaches 100 kilograms. They are also known for their high sugar content - up to 15%.

Pumpkins are also different in shape - round or elongated. Accordingly, the color of the fruit, all shades of yellow and green, also differs.

The inside of the pumpkin is usually yellow (creamy, orange or reddish yellow), sweetish in taste. It contains ripe seeds that are easily separated and used by themselves.

Common and large-fruited pumpkins have the most valuable qualities for humans. Large-fruited pumpkin or its other subspecies - firm-bark - is a rather hardy plant, therefore it is willingly grown in many places on the Earth. Its varieties include zucchini, squash, squash and crooknec.

Vegetable pumpkins - squash are popular in Europe. Their traditional shape is oblong-cylindrical. And those of them that have a flat shape are called squash. Patissons are famous for their high vitamin C content, from 20 to 30%. They are of two types - white and pale green, with rounded-toothed edges.

Pumpkin seeds - history, useful properties, applications.In Italy and France, another variety of pumpkin seeds is especially popular - ducchini. They grow in length from 8 to 20 centimeters with a thickness of 3-5 centimeters. Unlike zucchini, their green skin does not peel off even when the zucchini is eaten raw.

Previously, pumpkin was bred for its valuable seeds, which were used in the manufacture of confectionery. The Indians stewed, boiled and fried pumpkin fruits. The Arabs eat baked pumpkin cut into thin slices with honey and apples, sprinkled with ground hazelnuts and cashews.

Europeans cook pumpkin soups, cereals, compotes, marmalades, casseroles, salads, pancakes and cakes. But all were surpassed by the Chinese, who cook dishes from pumpkin that taste like meat and fish.

Since ancient times, pumpkin has also been used as a medicinal plant. Avicenna also wrote about the anthelmintic properties of pumpkin seeds. And today, pumpkin seeds are used for various diseases of the stomach. The benefits of pumpkin seeds for smokers are also known: they are believed to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

There is also such a pumpkin plant - lagenaria. It was bred already in 850 BC. In the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs of the twelfth dynasty, vessels made of pumpkin were discovered for storing water and wine. Therefore, it received the name "bottle gourd" and "calabash". Nest boxes for birds, snuff boxes, resonators for musical instruments are also made of pumpkin.

The fibrous tissue of another pumpkin plant, the luffa, is used to make loofahs. The first to use them were Portuguese navigators. It turned out that if you soak the pumpkin for a long time, then its pulp is easily separated, and the tough woven fabric can be used as a loofah.

Luffa replaced expensive sea sponges and was used in the manufacture of filters for diesel and steam engines. When it turned out that it also possesses noise-absorbing and anti-shock action, it was used to make steel soldier helmets and in armored personnel carriers of the US Army.

Pumpkin seeds are widely used for technical purposes, from which, in particular, drying oils are obtained, which serve as the basis for oil paints and drying oils.

Rusty shackleford

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