Pumpkin seed oil -- Cucurbita pepo L. -- is an extract that has a variety of uses and is said to be one of the healthiest cooking oils. According to Dr. Jim Sears, pumpkin seed oil has over 90 percent unsaturated fat and contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil does have an expiration date, and should be stored properly to ensure the quality of the product.
What Is Pumpkin Seed Oil?
Pumpkin seed oil is an extract made from roasted pumpkin seeds. The oil, which typically has a deep green color and a thick texture, has been used with food and in alternative medicine for centuries. Manufacturers of the product use 5 1/2 lbs. of seeds -- the equivalent of 30 pumpkins' worth -- to yield 1 liter of oil. To make the oil, manufacturers dry the seeds, crush them and finally roast them at low temperatures before cold-pressing them.
Uses in Food
Pumpkin seed is said to be incredibly healthy; it contains numerous vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Vitamins include A, E, C and biotin. While pumpkin seed oil cannot be used in baking -- the oil burns at temperatures exceeding 250 degrees F -- the oil can be used as a salad dressing or tossed with vegetables to add a little extra flair. On the Internet, the many recipes using pumpkin seed oil include bruschetta, potato salad and sandwich spreads.
Pumpkin oil is said to have curative benefits for a number of diseases and ailments, including cramped muscles, high cholesterol, prostate problems and heart conditions. The oil is also said to minimize the risk of becoming afflicted with certain types of cancers, due to its high essential fatty acid content. The oil is also commonly found in prostate health-promoting supplements. Giving pumpkin-seed oil to children has been reported to aid bed-wetting problems, according to a "Los Angeles Times" article.
Recommended Shelf Life and Storage
It is recommended that you store pumpkin seed oil in a cool, dry place to prevent it from prematurely spoiling. Most manufacturers say that pumpkin seed oil will last for between 6 and 12 months after being bottled. Make sure to keep the product away from sunlight; prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause pumpkin seed oil to acquire a bitter taste. Refrigerating your oil is suggested if you plan on saving the oil for longer periods of time.
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Ginger Yapp has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in travel and film topics. Her work has appeared in such publications as "USA Today" and online at Hotels.com. Yapp also has experience writing and editing for a small California newspaper. She earned her B.A. in film and media studies and has worked as an ESL teacher at an international school.