Pumpkin Flower: Nutrients, Benefits, and Uses

Pumpkin flower is a type of vibrant edible flower produced by pumpkin plants.

Pumpkin plants produce both male and female flowers, both of which are notable for their large, funnel-shaped blossoms. These striking blossoms take on either a vivid orange or yellow hue (1).

Though many people think of eating the pumpkin fruit or seeds, pumpkin flower can be a nutritious and tasty addition to a healthy diet.

This article will take a closer look at the nutritional profile of pumpkin flower, along with the potential benefits and uses of this versatile ingredient.

Though it contains a low amount of calories and fat per serving, pumpkin flower can help boost your intake of several important nutrients, including fiber, copper, folate, and vitamin A.

One cup (134 grams) of cooked pumpkin flower contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 20
  • Carbs: 4.5 grams
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Copper: 15% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 13% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 7% of the DV
  • Iron: 7% of the DV

Pumpkin flower is particularly rich in copper, an essential mineral that your body needs for energy production (3).

It also contains a good amount of folate per serving, which is a B vitamin that plays a key role in protein metabolism and DNA synthesis (4).

Additionally, pumpkin flowers provide approximately 13% of your DV for vitamin A, which supports the formation and function of the heart, eyes, and lungs (5).

summary

Pumpkin flower is low in calories but rich in several important nutrients, including fiber, copper, folate, and vitamin A.

Though there remains limited research on the effects of pumpkin flower, it is a highly nutritious ingredient. Therefore, pumpkin flowers may offer several health benefits.

Rich in antioxidants

Pumpkin flower is a great source of antioxidants, which are compounds that may neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce inflammation in your body (6).

In particular, pumpkin flower is rich in several types of antioxidants, including (1):

  • anthocyanins
  • carotene
  • flavonoids
  • phenols

In addition to decreasing oxidative damage to your cells, antioxidants may also aid in the prevention of chronic diseases (7).

Furthermore, many of the different types of antioxidants found in pumpkin flower may provide additional health benefits.

For instance, pumpkin flower contains a high amount of carotenoids, which may help enhance your brain function, support your heart health, and offer you protection against certain types of cancer and chronic disease (8).

Still, more studies are needed to evaluate how the antioxidants found in pumpkin flower may impact your health.

May promote healthy vision

Pumpkin flower provides a hearty dose of vitamin A in each serving. Your body needs vitamin A to maintain optimal eye health.

Moreover, a deficiency in vitamin A may have a serious impact on your eye health. Poor eye health is often characterized by issues like night blindness and dry eyes (9).

What’s more, some research suggests that increasing your intake of vitamin A — from either supplements or nutrient-dense foods like pumpkin flower — may be associated with a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that may lead to vision loss over time (5, 10, 11).

May support red blood cell production

Pumpkin flower contains several nutrients that are involved in your body’s production of red blood cells.

For example, your body requires copper to produce hemoglobin, a type of protein that carries oxygen through red blood cells (12).

It also contains iron, another key component of hemoglobin that your body needs to synthesize healthy red blood cells (13).

A deficiency in either nutrient can cause anemia, characterized by symptoms like weakness, pale skin, dizziness, and fatigue (14, 15).

Incorporating more foods that are rich in these essential minerals — such as pumpkin flower — into your diet may be beneficial to prevent any nutritional deficiencies.

summary

Pumpkin flower is rich in antioxidants and contains several nutrients that could help promote healthy vision and support red blood cell production.

Pumpkin flower is generally considered safe. Enjoy it as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet.

However, keep in mind that many recipes featuring pumpkin flower are breaded, fried, or stuffed with high calorie ingredients like cheese.

While these dishes can certainly fit into a balanced diet, you may want to moderate your portion sizes if you’re trying to maintain a moderate weight or achieve a healthy calorie deficit.

Additionally, while pumpkin flower can also be enjoyed raw, it’s important to clean it thoroughly prior to consumption to remove any dirt or debris, especially if picking it from your own garden.

Most people prefer to carefully remove the spiny leaves of the flowers, along with the pistil and stamen, to improve the flavor of the flower.

Like other types of edible flowers, note that pumpkin flower has a very short shelf-life and starts to wilt within 24–48 hours after picking.

Because it’s not readily available at most grocery stores, pumpkin flowers may prove difficult to find. They can also be very expensive.

Check your local farmers’ market or consider growing your own pumpkins at home if you want to add the flowers to your diet.

summary

Pumpkin flower is often deep-fried, breaded, or stuffed with high calorie fillings. It also has a short shelf-life, can be challenging to find, and should be cleaned thoroughly prior to consumption.

Raw pumpkin flower boasts a subtle, slightly earthy taste. Chefs may use it to add a pop of color and flavor to salads.

It can also be breaded and fried to make fritters, which are often enjoyed as an appetizer or snack.

Pumpkin flower is also used in quesadillas or cooked with other vegetables and spices to make a stir-fry.

Many people also fill the blossoms with ricotta or mozzarella cheese before baking or frying them to make stuffed pumpkin flowers. You can try making this dish at home using the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 10–12 pumpkin flowers
  • 1 cup (260 grams) ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse each pumpkin flower and carefully remove the spiny leaves, pistil, and stamen.
  2. In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour breadcrumbs into another bowl. Add remaining two eggs to a separate bowl and use a fork to whisk thoroughly.
  4. Use a spoon to stuff each blossom with the ricotta filling and twist the top to close.
  5. Next, dip each blossom into the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 8–10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and blossoms are light brown and crispy.

summary

Pumpkin flower can be enjoyed raw or cooked. It is often added to salads and used to make fritters, stir-fry, quesadillas, or stuffed pumpkin flower.

Pumpkin flower is a vibrant and fragrant ingredient that boasts a slightly sweet, earthy flavor. It works well in a variety of dishes.

It is rich in antioxidants and contains several other important vitamins and minerals, including copper, folate, and vitamin A.

Consider adding this tasty edible flower to your next shopping list and give your favorite salads, soups, and stir-fries an exciting upgrade!