Pumpkin seed oil on the march
Pumpkin seed oil has always been popular with connoisseurs, but for many it is still an undiscovered treasure of health and flavour. In recent years, it has been gaining recognition as a culinary speciality in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Exquisite drops of pumpkin seed oil can enrich the character of many popular dishes.
Štajerska and Prekmurje, the two north-eastern regions of Slovenia, boast a long tradition of processing pumpkin seeds into oil. Historical records on pumpkin seed pressing and the oldest press, built in 1750 in Štajerska, testify that the tradition of pumpkin seed oil production started as early as in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the production of oil from pumpkin seeds expanded throughout the Štajerska and Prekmurje regions. Tovarna olja GEA, located in the heart of Štajerska, has been producing pumpkin seed oil since 1904.
THE BEST FROM THE BEST
The quality of pumpkin seed oil depends mainly on the quality of the pumpkin seeds used. The finer the quality of pumpkin seeds, the more exquisite the pumpkin seed oil produced. We at GEA are well aware of this fact.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia has granted GEA pumpkin oil a certificate declaring that Tovarna olja GEA produces pumpkin seed oil of Štajerska and Prekmurje with geographical indication. The GEA pumpkin seed oil of Štajerska and Prekmurje therefore rightfully belongs among the protected special Slovenian agricultural products and foods.
In 2012, oil entered in the Register of European protected geographical indications (PGI).
Important contents of pumpkin seeds
|oil||35 – 55 %|
|proteins||25 – 30 %|
|carbohydrates||4 – 8 %|
|fibre||2 – 4 %|
|minerals (K, Ca, P, Mg, Cu, Zn, Se and others in trace amounts)||4 – 5 %|
|vitamins E, A, B1, B2, B6, C and D||E = 380 – 850 ppm|
|phytosterols||2.100 – 5.600 ppm|
|amino acids: citrulline and cucurbitine||traces|
|squalenes, ursolic acid and malic acid||traces|
|natural pigments: chlorophyll and protochlorophyll||traces|
Pumpkin seeds: Cucurbito Pepo Convarietes Citrullinina — Varietas Styriaca.
Production of pumpkin seed oil
Since 2007, Tovarna olja GEA has been equipped with state-of-the-art pumpkin seed oil production technology. The production starts with the reception of pumpkin seeds. This is followed by the preparation of the raw material, which is crucial for the quality of the final product. The seeds are brushed to remove the waxy skins and air-blown to remove all the impurities, such as pumpkin flesh, dust, sand and leaves. The seeds are then sorted according to size and weight. Pumpkin seeds are then heated and ground. Appropriate portions of water and salt are added to induce the breaking of cellular membranes and extraction of oil. The prepared pulp is then roasted in roasting pans and constantly mixed. The roasted pulp is transported to the press where pumpkin oil is extracted. The pumpkin oil is left to settle naturally for two to three weeks in order to separate the solid content. After that, it is bottled or loaded into other types of containers. A by-product of pumpkin seed oil production is pumpkin cake, which is used as an animal feed.
Special characteristics and use of pumpkin seed oil
Štajerska-Prekmurje pumpkin seed oil GEA has a characteristic dark green colour and a particular and very pleasant flavour similar to roasted walnuts. For centuries, pumpkin seed oil has been ascribed a variety of health effects and is thus a necessary ingredient of a healthy diet. Furthermore, it is a unique and unforgettable culinary experience. Its specific flavour is exceptionally expressive when used in the preparation of various salads, such as green, potato, bean, tomato, cabbage, cucumber, meat and other salads. Usually, it is used as a salad dressing made of pumpkin seed oil, vinegar, water, salt and a selection of spices. It is also used for marinating, sauces and pasta dressings, rice dishes, cold meat dishes, soups, sweet dishes and for the preparation of various spreads, e.g. curd spreads. A few drops of pumpkin seed oil on vanilla ice cream is a true gourmet experience.
Video – GEA Pumpkin seed oil
A TREASURE OF VITAMINS
A treasure of vitamins, minerals and protective substances
Pumpkin seed oil contains vitamins A and E. Vitamin E is especially important due to its antioxidant properties. Pumpkin seed oil is one of the vegetable oils with the highest vitamin E content. Štajerska-Prekmurje pumpkin seed oil Gea contains 50 – 70 mg of vitamin E per 100 grams of oil. Vitamin A is also indispensable to our health because it works similarly to vitamin E, as a free-radical scavenger, strengthens the immune system and maintains good eyesight.
In addition to vitamins, pumpkin seed oil also contains a number of other protective substances. Phytosterols are crucial for the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Selenium, phosphorous, calcium, potassium and magnesium are all minerals which ensure proper functioning of the body. Selenium is an antioxidant that prevents inflammations and cancerous diseases. It is important for the strengthening of the cardiovascular and immune systems. Citrulline and cucurbitine are also very important in preventing the enlargement of the prostate, while cucurbitine is also very effective against worms.
Fatty acid content
|fatty acid||abbrev.||content (in %)|
|palmitic acid||C 16 : 0||8 – 13|
|stearic acid||C 18 : 0||5 – 16|
|oleic acid||C 18 : 1||24 – 43||Omega 9|
|linoleic acid||C 18 : 2||38 – 58||Omega 6|
|linolenic acid||C 18 : 3||max 1||Omega 3|
|arachidic acid||C 20 : 0||max 1|
|gadoleic acid||C 20 : 1||max 0.5|
|behenic acid||C 22 : 0||max 0.3|
Unsaturated fatty acids
Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids. The most important unsaturated fatty acids are the linoleic and linolenic acids, also known as Omega 6 and Omega 3. Both these unsaturated fatty acids play a central role in the formation of tissue hormones, which influence the cellular functions and the cellular immune reaction system.
MEDALS AND AWARDS
INTERNATIONAL FOOD & DRINK EVENT IFE LONDON
Štajerska-Prekmurje pumpkin seed oil Gea was one of the winners in the category of unique products at the International Food & Drink Event 2007 (IFE London).
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL FAIR IN NOVI SAD
Štajerska-Prekmurje pumpkin seed oil Gea received a golden medal in the category of pumpkin seed oils at the 77th International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad.