Hokkaido Pumpkin

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 02. Jul. 2020

The Hokkaido pumpkin is smaller and less fibrous than many other pumpkins, but much easier to cook with! Check out the best ways to use this nutritious pumpkin below.

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Hokkaido pumpkins...

  • ...support bladder and kidney function.
    Due to its high potassium content (351 milligrams per 100 grams) the Hokkaido pumpkin has a stimulating effect on kidney and bladder activity. At the same time it naturally drains the body and balances the body’s fluid balance.
  • ...are a great source of vitamin A.
    Just 100 grams of Hokkaido pumpkins provide around 70 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, which promotes cell growth and supports healthy skin and eyes.
  • ...protect the body's cells.
    The natural plant dyes which give Hokkaido pumpkins their vibrant orange color also help protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals.
  • ...are very easy on the stomach.
    Hokkaido pumpkins are extremely easy to digest, making them a great vegetable even for those with sensitive stomachs.
  • ...contain few carbs.
    100 grams of Hokkaido pumpkins contains only 5 grams of carbohydrates.
  • ...provide powerful B vitamins.
    Hokkaido pumpkins contain considerable amounts of several vitamins from the B group, which help support nervous system health and promote metabolic function.

What You Should Know About Hokkaido Pumpkins

With a weight of two to four pounds, Hokkaido pumpkins are significantly smaller than most other pumpkins. Hokkaido pumpkins are also much easier to prepare than many other pumpkins like muscat or butternut, as their skin can be eaten. This makes them an especially good option for pumpkin soup. 

Origins

The Hokkaido pumpkin owes its name to its original home - an island of the same name in Japan. The islanders bred it from the rice nut pumpkin introduced there by the Americans at the end of the 19th century. It's only in the last 20 years that Hokkaido pumpkins have begun cultivation in other countries.

Season

The first Hokkaido pumpkins usually begin sprouting in August, while actual season starts in September and extends far into the winter.

Flavor

Hokkaido pumpkins have a mild, slightly nutty aroma reminiscent of chestnuts and a juicy flesh that is less fibrous than most other pumpkins.

Our Favorite Recipes With Hokkaido Pumpkins

Find all our Hokkaido pumpkin recipes here.

How Healthy Are Hokkaido Pumpkins?

Hokkaido pumpkins are particularly high in nutrients compared to their relatives, as they contains less water than other pumpkin flesh. Like all pumpkins, Hokkaido pumpkin stimulates kidney and bladder activity and naturally drains water thanks to its high potassium content. 

The Hokkaido pumpkin owes its bright orange-red color to its abundant beta-carotenes. In the body, these beta-carotenes are converted into vitamin A, which is essential in keeping eyes, skin and hair healthy. The edible skin of the Hokkaido pumpkin is particularly rich in beta-carotenes. Hokkaido pumpkins also contain considerable amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and B6, vitamins C and E, as well as folic acid, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.

Hokkaido pumpkin NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 67
Protein 1.7 g
Fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 5.5 g
Fiber 2.6 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchase

Look out for Hokkaido pumpkins with firm, flawless skin and make sure the bast of the stem is intact. While Hokkaido pumpkins stays fresh for a very long time, it can't hurt to do a quick knock test before buying. Simply tap the pumpkin lightly with your fist-- if it makes a hollow noise, it's perfectly ripe.

Storage

When stored in a cool and dry place, for example in the cellar, pantry or the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, a whole Hokkaido pumpkin with an intact stem will keep for at least two months. If you've already cut the pumpkin and have some left over, simply cover in cling film and keep it in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to four days. You can also freeze dized Hokkaido pumpkin for up to four months in the freezer. 

Preparation

The Hokkaido pumpkin is relatively firm, so make sure to cut it with a large and sharp knife. The seeds inside can easily be scraped out with a spoon, and you can cut the Hokkaido pumpkin into slices or cubes, depending on the recipe.

Hokkaido pumpkin is particularly quick to cook - for example, for soups, purees, risotto or pumpkin pie - when grated. And remember, its skin is edible!

What to Make With Hokkaido Pumpkins

Whether pumpkin cream soup, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, casserole, stuffed pumpkin, side dish for pork medallions or vegetarian main course, this versatile vegetable is the perfect base for any number of recipes. The Hokkaido pumpkins firm texture stands up to an array of cooking techniques, from frying to baking to braising. 

Hokkaido pumpkin's beautiful color make them perfect for filling, from ragout, to chili, to vegetarian couscous. Prepared this way, you can produce a beautiful autumnal main course, or even a beautiful side on your Thanksgiving table. 

Because Hokkaido pumpkins are so easily digestible and also tastes slightly sweet, they're also perfect as a base for homemade baby food. 

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