Monday, July 29, 2013

PUMPKIN SEED OIL



Having grown up in a family with roots in Styria, a southern province in Austria, Pumpkin seed oil was a staple on our salads and to this day I try to get some wherever I live. Mostly on visits back home we carefully wrap a bottle and use it not nearly as often as Olive oil. Hard to find outside of Austria.

Besides some tremendous health benefits (not my primary concern when cooking), I love the deep nutty flavor this oil has. Salads are a given, but one of my favorite dishes is a cold "Rindfleichsalad", basically a boiled beef salad served cold with Pumpkin oil. 
Creative Chefs have used it for many other dishes as well. Wolfgang Puck brought some popularity to the oil in the US and if you visit SPAGO, you are bound to find a salad with Pumpkin seed oil on the menu.
A lot has changed since my years in Austria, neighboring provinces and countries have jumped on the bandwagon and produce the same oil today. Cannot really blame them for it, the current retail price per litre is 19.00 Euros or almost 25.00 USD. That's lofty, even for EVOO. But worth it, considering the much smaller harvest and production time.

If you talk to locals in that region of Austria, who since have protected their "black gold" with an AOC seal of origin, no one else can produce such a good oil as they can. Of course not. Let's not burst their bubble. 
When something in business goes well, scandals usually are not too far off and a couple of years ago, some smart producers in Styria started to import seeds from the Ukraine and as far away as China and still sold the product as Styrian pumpkin seed oil.....not nice. But they did get busted. Damage was done for a while, sadly for the honest farmers, but today it seems the consumers have forgotten and forgiven.

Though the Austrian very much love to add raw onions to their salad dressing (and many other dishes), I think pumpkin oil needs almost no vinegar or other over powering flavors. All I add besides sea salt and pepper is a dash of lemon juice to make a great salad with my favorite oil.






PUMPKIN SEEDS AND OIL

PUMPKINS ARE LEFT ON THE FIELDS AS FERTILIZER

AT THE MILL

LOOKS LIKE WELL USED ENGINE OIL

WE ONLY ADD A SPLASH OF LEMON

A HIGH QUALITY OIL DISPLAYS A GREAT NUTTY FLAVOR

LE LUNCH SALAD

9 comments:

melinda said...

sounds tasty.....it probably costs a fortune here, if it is here at all....would love to try...does it go rancid quickly? so do you have to refrigerate it to keep better?

H.Peter said...


Bon Jour Melinda,

your best bet to find some oil may be at a German Deli.
We do keep it refrigerated here in Jarnac, my mother however does not.
It seems to keep just fine.

Unknown said...

You had me at pumpkin!!!

Nadege said...

Whole Foods sells it. I never look at prices when I shop but will next time I go to WF. I didn't know it was a special oil in Austria. (I have a chinese friend who stopped buying pine nuts because most of them come from China where it so cheap other countries stopped exporting them. Anyway, your pumpkin seeds story reminded me of her pine nuts story and since I don't like buying food that comes from China, I won't eat pine nuts either).

Sheila said...

We often munch on pumpkin seeds
(hope they're not from China) and
find them to be very rich and
filling. I'm sure the oil must be
delicious, and I'm going to make
enquiries at the grocery/health
food stores. Notice your seeds are
black -- ours are more greenish/
yellow.

New oil I've been using lately for
sautéing is extra virgin coconut.

H.Peter said...


Whole Foods is a logic place to carry that oil Nadege.
In regards to China, I am of course a huge fan of that country and have to disagree.
The boom of organic foods in China dwarfs anything going on in the US.
But, that's a different story altogether.

H.Peter said...

hi Sheila, I am adding an image of the packaged seeds from Austria. Maybe you can find them somewhere.

Jennifer F said...

Sounds delicious! Your photos are stunning. Hope you are having a good summer.

(BTW- for some reason my blog is not updating/showing the current post on your webpage...would you mind re-adding it...it seems to be having issues on many other sites too. I'm hoping maybe re-adding it from current html feed might help.- Thanks)

H.Peter said...


Thanks jennifer.

I shall delete and re add your blog. Not sure what the issue is, same for another blog actually. His posts always show up late.