An Ode to my favourite Salad Oil
Yes, I love it so much I am dedicating an entire article to my favourite oil:
The Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
You may dismiss this as just yet another oil, just like hemp seed oil or avocado oil, but do not make this mistake. The flavour is exceptional. It has a very smooth, buttery, and unique nutty, wholesome taste. It has a thick consistency and the colour is this very deep, dark green. When you buy a bottle and open it, a pumpkin seed oil connoisseur like myself can immediately smell whether you bought an original or just some wannabe alternative.
I have to add, pumpkin seed oils are also produced in neighbouring regions in Slovenia and Hungary. The Styrian pumpkin seed oil just tastes better and, considering I’m from Styria, assume this is full on bias.
It is also called the "Styrian Gold" and there's a reason for it: It is not cheap; however, the oil is very concentrated so should be used sparingly. To obtain one litre of oil, about 2.5kg of dried pumpkin seeds, for which you need approximately 40 pumpkins, are needed. Also, the type of pumpkin is very unique to the region and is called the Styrian Oil Pumpkin (Lat. Cucurbita pepo). The seeds are significantly high in nutrients, much higher than any other variety of pumpkins.
When I first moved to London, I used to bring the oil with me from every visit home. Thankfully, London has developed a great food culture over the years and you can now buy pumpkin seed oil in a few places. I buy mine at my local Austrian cafe and shop in Angel, Islington, called Kipferl. You can also order it online at various specialised food merchants. I am not the only Austrian who is obsessed with Styrian pumpkin seed oil. In the "Austrians in London" Facebook group you will regularly find a post from a newcomer to London desperately looking to find a place to buy pumpkin seed oil. It’s part of our DNA. We need it to survive.
Styria is a region in Austria and produces some wines specific to the regions, but the pumpkin seed oil is the true contender for international fame because of its amazing taste and healthy attributes.
We all know by now that fat isn’t always bad. We need to consume a good amount of healthy fats and pumpkin seed oil is a delicious way of adding healthy fats to your diet.
Pumpkin seed oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic that offers support for heart health, mobility health and urinary tract health.
For centuries, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have been used as a natural remedy for irritation of the bladder and kidneys as well as for prostate irregularities. Now considered a superfood, the active ingredients in pumpkin seeds normalise and strengthen the musculature of the bladder and have a positive and prophylactic effect on benign prostate growths (benign Prostatahyperplasie BPH) in the first and second stages.
Vegetarians and Vegans may have a hard time getting enough iron and zinc from plants in their diet, so Austrian pumpkin seed oil makes for a great addition to their diet.
Other health benefits include a risk reduction of arterioscleriosis, heart disease, strokes, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stone formation, regulation of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduced inflammation and support of the digestive tract, plus fighting infections and parasites, and more.
Has Styrian pumpkin seed oil piqued your interest? Then why not read the study from Kings College and the University of Graz on all the health and medicinal benefits of this healthful oil by clicking here
Read a more detailed nutritional overview by clicking here.
Obviously, there’s no super food “super” on its own. It all has to be part of a healthy and balanced diet.
How can you use pumpkin seed oil?
Remember, you cannot heat the oil, so please, do not cook using the oil. You can use it to drizzle over soups and pizzas, omlettes, combine it in salads with cider vinegar or balsamic, or even if you fancy a desert of vanilla ice cream you can drizzle some oil overtop to make it a little healthy. Vanilla ice cream and pumpkin seed oil makes for a great flavour combination.
Famous Austrian potato salad recipe:
You will need:
- Salad potatoes (500g)
- 1 large red onion and garlic (2 or 3 small cloves)
- about 200ml stock (or good quality, low sodium/salt stock cubes & water)
- Estragon mustard (Austrian Sweet Mustard)
- Cider vinegar (a good drizzle, about 3-4 tbsp)
- Styrian pumpkin seed oil (a good drizzle, about 3-4 tbsp)
- Chives (optional)
- Boil the salad potatoes, peel and finely slice them and let them cool down
- Finely chop the red onion and add to the potatoes
- Warm up (not boil!) about 200ml of stock and add the finely chopped garlic, 1.5 tbsp sweet mustard and a good dash of vinegar. Season with Salt & Pepper. Add this mixture to the sliced potatoes, mix well and let it sit to cool.
- About 20-30mins later add the pumpkin seed oil
- Add finely chopped chives and season with more salt/pepper if necessary