Are pumpkin leaves poisonous?
Edited April 1, 2011.
After doing some reading, I concluded that pumpkin leaves are not poisonous and are edible. I read that pumpkin leaves are eaten in Congo, Zimbabwe, Korea, and other countries around the world. Why haven’t I seen anyone doing this in my country?
I am growing a small patch of pumpkin vines just for the purpose of eating the greens. I collected the batch of tender shoots and the youngest leaves shown above.
Video: Harvesting and Cooking Pumpkin Greens
Saute greens in olive oil and salt for 5 minutes. Keep moving the greens while cooking. At the last minute, add fresh garlic.
The pumpkin greens lacked any bitterness that other greens tend to have, which surprised me. These might be the sweetest greens I have eaten. Even my son and wife enjoyed them. The flavor reminded me of a mixture of green beans, broccoli, spinach and asparagus.
After I ate this plate of greens, I felt full, which surprised me since I had not eaten any other lunch and thought I would eat more after this, but I wasn’t hungry. I did some reading and see a website that says pumpkin leaves are good for helping you feel full and therefor good for weight loss.
Pumpkin leaves are a good source of Calcium.
Pumpkin leaves are a very good source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
[ source: nutritiondata.com, wolframalpha.com] Nutritiondata.com implies that you could eat the leaves raw, too. Next time I went to the garden, I picked a small leaf off the end of the vine and ate it right there outside. It tasted fine, but the texture was not good. The leaf had a rough, prickly feel. Cooking definitely made the leaves softer and easier to consume.
In just one week, the patch was ready for another harvest!
VIDEO: 2nd Picking from the Same Pumpkin Vines, 1 Week Later
In the future, I might build a support and train the vines to grow up, then harvest only the greens. Remove the pumpkins when they are small to divert all energy to greens production.
Try the pumpkin flowers, which are edible. The flowers are supposedly delicious fried in a little butter or cooking oil. [ source ]
Try juicing the pumpkin leaves raw. That would remove the rough texture and preserve any nutrients or enzymes that might be damaged during cooking.
Pumpkins really are a remarkable source of food. So many different parts to eat: the fruit – the pumpkin or squash, the leaves, the flowers, and the seeds. The one part I have not seen anyone eating yet is the roots. If you want an easy-to-grow, fresh source of greens, consider pumpkin greens.