Can you eat kabocha squash skin?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat kabocha squash skin?” along with other aspects related to the benefits or disadvantages of eating kabocha squash skin.

Can you eat kabocha squash skin?

Yes! You can eat kabocha squash skin. There is no problem with eating kabocha squash skin. In fact, there are many Japanese kabocha recipes, for instance, tempura kabocha and cooked kabocha, that require the skin to stay on. 

But, if you desire to show off that adorable orange colour in your meal, you’ll have to separate the skin, as the dark green kabocha skin won’t stay beautiful as the orange flesh colour.

Although kabocha is grown throughout Japan, Hokkaido is its major production area producing almost half of the Japanese crop, with the harvest occurring between August and October. Out of season imported kabocha pumpkins are sold, the major source countries being New Zealand and Mexico, with smaller quantities from Korea. Imports comprise approximately 40% of the kabocha pumpkin sold in the Japanese market (1).

The flavour of kabocha squash skin:

It has a sweet and a bit nutty taste. It is fluffy and has a light texture. It is highly rich in beta-carotene, phytosterols, fibres, and vitamin E, A and C (2).

Where can you store it?

When you’ve brought your pumpkin home, just keep it in a cool, dry place. It can also be stored in the freezer for approximately 30 days and in the case of a refrigerator, you can store it for 2-3 days. They can last up to numerous months. Store  pumpkins in a dry (70% RH) and cool (50°F–60°F) place. Spread out the pumpkins rather than stacking them up. Decay is the main source of loss. Some good results have been obtained by curing pumpkins before storing. This was done by keeping them for 10 days at 80°F–85°F and a high relative humidity (80%–85%) (3).

The benefits of kabocha squash skin:

Pumpkin skin contains high amounts of phenolics. It has antioxidants, antifungal and antimicrobial activity (4). It is great for healthy immunity, skin, hair, and eyes and may have anti-aging effects. It is highly rich in beta carotene content, also high in iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Another compelling property of kabocha pumpkin is that it has a fraction of the calories compared to other types of pumpkin (2,4,5).

There are many nutrients in the skin of kabocha squash skin that can help in the prevention of diabetes, boosting the immune system, prevention of cancer, treatment of inflammation, and also in the promotion of heart health.

What squash skin you can’t eat?

Zucchini, yellow squash, and pumpkin have completely edible peels and seeds. Commonly the skin of Patty Pan zucchini is edible, but if the zucchini is in larger amounts, then the skin would be harder to eat.

By roasting a larger pattypan skin can become softer. After softening the pattypan you may need to remove the seeds.

Is kabocha healthier than pumpkin?

Fresh kabocha squash contains relatively higher amounts of vitamin C (20% RDA / 3.5 oz), folate, and thiamine than buttercup. On the other hand, buttercup contains a higher amount of calcium than kabocha (6). Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen in bones, cartilage, and blood vessels and helps with the absorption of iron (7).  

Different varieties of pumpkins and squashes contain different nutrient profiles and the proportions of proteins, lipids and vitamins differ. However, all pumpkins offer excellent health benefits (4). 

It’s also a good source of folic acid, providing 24 µg, or 6% of the Recommended Daily Allowance per 3.5 oz.

Can kabocha squash be organic?

Since kabocha is one of those pumpkins that have soft skin to eat after cooking, it is recommended to air carefully and buy an organic or pesticide/spray-free kabocha. one with no scratches or dents. Based on a sample of 1460 pumpkin farms listed on localharvest.org, there may be 75 or more farms in the U.S. that market certified organic ornamental pumpkins (8).

Is any squash poisonous? 

A toxic compound called cucurbitacin E can be found in the squash. They are chemically called as oxygenated tetracyclic terpenes. They are potent toxins with natural insecticidal and fungicidal properties. People who eat it can result in pumpkin poisoning, also known as toxic pumpkin syndrome which is quite similar to toxic shock syndrome (9). 

Due to these poisonous effects, you do not need to cut all the pumpkin products from your kitchen. 

How to check if a kabocha squash is ripe?

Kabocha squash is a vitamin ripe for harvest approximately 5,055 days after the fruit set. There can be different colours of fruits like grey, green, and orange, this is all due to the variety of seeds you are growing. When ripe kabocha winter is tapped, it should feel hollow, and the stem has started to wither. 

Kabocha and buttercup fruit are sufficiently mature to be removed from the vine at 45 days after pollination (45 days after flowering). They are not fully ripe at this stage, but they no longer require nutrition from the plant in order to ripen further. Leaving the fruit in the field longer than necessary increases the likelihood of sunburn, exposure to rot pathogens, cracking and rodent damage (10).

What colour is ripe kabocha squash?

The Kabocha should look heavy for its size and the skin should be dark green. Light spots, streaks, or blotches are normal; Some pumpkins will pick them when they ripen, making sure the skin is firm and free from soft spots. You can easily store it in a cool, dry place for up to a month or more. Just like pears, kabocha squash ripen after harvest and they taste best when they are fully but not overly ripe. Kabochas and buttercups need to ripen for one or more months after harvest for best culinary quality. At harvest, they still have high starch and low sugar contents. During ripening, starch is converted to sugars, which improves the consistency of the squash and increases sweetness (10).

How is freezing kabocha squash?

Just like other winter squash, if the whole kabocha is stored in a dry place like the kitchen then it can last for more than a month. Place the chopped squash in a sealed box or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. You can also grill or steam the pumpkin before freezing it.  Most vegetables maintain high quality for 8 to 12 months at 0°F or lower (11). 

Is kabocha squash good for diabetics?

This is good if you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. A low glycemic diet has also been linked to a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, and other medical conditions.

According to studies, pumpkin has antioxidant activity, which might be important for pre-diabetics, diabetics, and patients with vascular injury (2). From a biological point of view, it has been demonstrated that cucurbitacins exert several bioactivities, such as antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic, antidiabetic effects.

Is kabocha squash a starch?

One cup of kabocha squash contains about 30 calories and about 8 grams of carbohydrates. There are 1.2 grams of fibre in kabocha and about 3.5 grams of naturally occurring sugar (2).

Conclusion

In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat kabocha squash skin”. Also, we have discussed how to store it, advantages, disadvantages, and other aspects of kabocha squash that you should have an idea about. 

References

  1. Yoshida, Mitsuru, et al. Potential application of light element stable isotope ratio in crude fiber for geographical origin verification of raw and cooked kabocha pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima). Food Chem, 2022, 373, 131462.
  2. Kim, Mi Young, et al. Comparison of the chemical compositions and nutritive values of various pumpkin (Cucurbitaceae) species and parts. Nutr res pract, 2012, 6, 21-27.  
  3. Rahman, M. A., et al. Effect of storage periods on postharvest quality of pumpkin. Bangladesh J Agri Res, 2013, 38, 247-255.
  4. Biological Activity of Pumpkin Byproducts: Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties
  5. Salehi, Bahare, et al. Cucurbita plants: from farm to industry. Appl Sci, 2019, 9, 3387.
  6. Kulczyński, Bartosz, and Anna Gramza-Michałowska. The Profile of Carotenoids and Other Bioactive Molecules in Various Pumpkin Fruits (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) Cultivars. Molecules, 2019, 24, 18.  
  7. Naidu, K. Akhilender. Vitamin C in human health and disease is still a mystery? An overview. Nutr j, 2003, 2, 1-10.
  8. Bachmann, Janet, and Katherine L. Adam. Organic pumpkin and winter squash marketing and production. ATTRA, 2010.
  9. Sachchan, Twinkle Kumar, et al. Natural Toxicants As Potential Health Hazards: An Overview. IJMER, 2022, 1.
  10. Formiga, Alice, et al. Kabocha and Buttercup Squash for Western Oregon Gardens. Oregon State University Extension Service, 2019.
  11. Harrison, Judy A., Elizabeth Andress, and Amy Simonne. Preserving Food: Freezing Vegetables: FCS8768/FY719, 8/2004. EDIS 2004.13 (2004).

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