The Story of Austria’s Special Pumpkin

Austria’s Finest Pumpkin Seed Oil

Throughout Austria pumpkins grow in many varieties for many uses.  Only the Gleisdorfer Oil Pumpkin from the Steiermark produces the valued Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Seed Oil.

The history of the Styrian Oil Pumpkin is fascinating.  It was in 1492 Christopher Columbus saw the first pumpkins in the Caribbean while discovering the New World.  Leonard Fuchs described the Oil Pumpkin in his New Herb Book in 1543 as “Ocean-Cucumber (Cucurbita pepo) without knowing about its culinary and nutrient rich properties.

The earliest use of the pumpkin was as animal feed and as a staple part of the diet of the field hands. The first specific reference to the Styrian Pumpkin as a valued commodity was on February 26, 1735 during the hand over of a farm in Ettendorf from father to son.  The noted documented the process of pressing oil from these seeds for its primary use for medicinal purposes.

In March, 1773 a directive came from the Styrian State Government asserting some control over the growing of the pumpkins.  The directive’s primary objective was to reduce the amount of this healing oil “wasted” on cooking and “optimize” its use as an ingredient in salves, creams and other Apothercary products.

Today, the Botanical Registry lists Styrian specialty as Cucurbita pepo L. Convar. Pepo var. styriaca GREB.  Each pumpkin produces about 150 seeds per pumpkin. The seeds lose about half their weight during the drying process resulting in only about 75 grams of seeds per pumpkin. This a very small yield when you consider that it takes 2.5Kg of seeds to produce 1 Liter of oil. An eye-opening formula to illustrate what goes into producing 1 Liter as follows.

          1 Liter of oil = 33 Pumpkins = 33 Square Yards of Farmland.

The pumpkin fields in the Steiermark cover more than five times as much acreage than the well known vineyards. The higher price of this oil as opposed to other oils is more understandable when consideration is given to agricultural resources which are required to produce this HEALTHY and TASTY specialty.

          The above history is based translated facts found in Christoph Wagner’s book, Steirisches Kurbiskern OL” (Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil), 1997 Pichler Verlag, GmbH, Vienna

            The seeds and oil sold as Austria’s Finest Naturally are raised by farmers who are dedicated to producing the finest quality seeds, and processed at the most modern, sanitary pressing and packaging facilities in the Steiermark.

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