Did you know that pumpkin leaves are edible? I didn’t either. Until, that is, a grass cutter came to our house several years ago. We asked him to pull out a pumpkin plant that had grown from our compost pile. It was producing blossoms but no pumpkins, much to my dismay. He asked if he could take the leaves home to cook and we let him, with pleasure! I had no desire to try to cook them, much less eat them.
Fast forward about 5 years. I threw a bunch of pumpkin seeds into my garden pots outside since I let them soak too long and didn’t want to roast them. They almost all sprouted. They grew, put out some blossoms, and just sat there straggling. Talisa was born and I had no time or energy to put into my little garden pots. My tomato plants died, as did most of my spinach. But the pumpkins still straggled around. Here is a photo of the pumpkin plants after I had already plucked some leaves for eating.
For some reason it struck my mind this morning that those leaves were edible. Free organic veggies are always welcome, so it was worth a try! If they turned out to be nasty I’d only be out a bit of olive oil and garlic. So I plucked half a colander full of leaves, and Svara helped me. We both did not like how prickly the leaves were! But the site that I looked at online said that once they were cooked they would not be prickly anymore. So we soldiered on! Here are the leaves we picked, ready for cooking!
I chopped them up into small pieces, I do not like eating large pieces of sauteed greens.
Then I sauteed them in about 2tsp of olive oil and a couple cloves of garlic, pressed. As with most greens they shrank in size quite a bit after sauteeing. They were still fuzzy looking and you could tell they were fuzzy when eating, but it wasn’t prickly at all. The taste was pretty neutral. We ate them as a side to some pasta.
So would I eat/cook these again? Definitely! They are a great nutritious boost to any meal! Check out this site for more information about cooking pumpkin leaves.
If you have a garden, give this a try in the spring before or while the plant is blossoming, while the leaves are still tender.