OH. Also known as the Styrian pumpkin, I received this seed the winter of ‘22 when I was at a Central Hawke’s Bay Seed Swap. I was delighted as it is very similar and related to the Austrian Hulless pumpkin we used to have in our collection. Both of these pumpkins originated in southeastern Austria (Styria), due to a spontaneous genetic mutation that occurred naturally in a field pumpkin grow out in 1934. Imagine the surprise and delight of the farmer who sliced open these pumpkins to discover the seeds had no hull or outer shell. By 1947, the Gleisdorfer Okurbis variety had been bred to further the yield of seeds per pumpkin. Due to this genetic mutation, a whole industry was born. These seeds without hulls streamlined the oil production process allowing the farmers to harvest and process the seeds for oil in the field. This oil called kernöl, or kürbiskernöl; or “green gold” has become a prized part of the Austrian diet and gone on to be exported internationally. Although outside of Austria, these pumpkins are more grown for eating the seeds unprocessed, and that is why we love them. Roasted, or pan toasted these seeds are delicious added to salads, used in baking bread or on their own as a nutritious snack. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of complete plant protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, as well as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium. They also contain high levels of both fat-soluble and water-soluble antioxidants, which help fight free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation. The flesh is edible, but not the highlight. If cooking the flesh, we recommend roasting first and saving for adding to soup. Chickens also like the flesh raw if you have too much of it on your hands at once like we do when we process the seeds. The pumpkins will last for 3-4 months stored in a cool dry environment, or you can process the seeds and dry them for longer storage. A beautiful 30cm-35cm smooth skinned fruit with dark green stripes stem to blossom filled in with deep orange colour when the fruit is ripe and ready to extract the dark green tear drop shaped seeds encased in a yellow flesh.
Sow into trays in September/October. Prick out to 4cm diagonal spacing when true leaves appear. Transplant into fertile soil at 50cm diagonal spacing when chance of frost has passed.