I’m having pumpkin leaves with Ugali, what are you having for lunch today?
Did you know that you can reap numerous health benefits from eating pumpkin leaves?
The plant grows fast and spreads wide. The trick is to pick the first 3 leaves from the budding point. Any other leaf further downwards will be too hard and doesn’t taste as delicious. However, if you still don’t like the taste, try mixing with a few other vegetables. Amaranth is an excellent choice.
In preparation, try to remove as many veins as possible and wash thoroughly under running tap water before chopping. This is because the leaves naturally hold on to lots of dust and dirt (I mean they grow on the ground, right?)
Then chop them into bite size pieces. Remember that they cook very fast so you don’t want them too thinly sliced unless you don’t mind having them mushy.
Saute your onions till golden brown. Then add finely diced tomatoes. With tomatoes, the secret is to chose the ripe and juicy ones.
When the tomatoes start becoming soupy, add your chopped pumpkin leaves and stir well. Add some salt and pepper. Now remove from the heat. At most, the leaves should cook for 5 minutes, otherwise they’ll be overcooked and lose their nutritional value.
These vegetables are best served hot over a plate of rice or Ugali.
Like most green leafy vegetables, pumpkin leaves are a rich source of iron. To get the maximum supply of iron add a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the vegetables when cooking. The lemon makes the iron readily availabe to your body cells.
Pumpkin leaves are also an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help your body to fight toxins and infections.
The Bottom Line
Pumpkin leaves grow well in vast climatic conditions. They require zero maintenance. Before the fruit appears, you will have harvested lots of pumpkin leaves and consequently lots of nutritional benefits.