Certain few varieties of pumpkin have seeds that lack a hull. These seeds do not need to be hulled in order to be eaten, saving time and effort.
Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious; they are 49% dietary fat and 30% high-quality protein. The flesh of the pumpkin is high in vitamin A (in the form of beta- and alpha-carotene), and is a source of carbs and fiber. Even the leaves and the flowers of the pumpkin plant are edible. Both the leaves and the flowers are high in vitamin A and potassium.
The pumpkin plant is a single-crop grocery store. Many crops provide carbs or protein; only a few garden crops provide dietary fat in any substantial amount. Pumpkin provides all three, along with B vitamins, vitamin A, minerals, and fiber.
With the right choice of pumpkin variety and good growing conditions, you could grow more calories per square meter of land than most other garden crops. Yields are highest using transplanted seedlings, raised beds covered with black plastic, and drip irrigation. One plant per square meter is an appropriate spacing for high yields.
There are several varieties of pumpkin with hulless seeds:
- Kakai – large thick seeds; green papery covering, with ivory interior bursting out.
- Styrian – medium-large seeds; dark green covering, firmly attached.
- Prostate Squash – medium-large seeds; light green covering.
- Naked Seeded Squash – medium seeds; light to darker green covering; light rim.
- Lady Godiva – medium-small seeds; medium green.
- Little Greenseed – small seeds; medium to dark green.
- Triple Treat – small seeds; not entirely hulless; pronounced rim.
- Snack Jack – small seeds; not entirely hulless (worse than Triple Treat); pronounced rim.
The top varieties are probably Kakai and Styrian. The latter is used to produce Styrian pumpkin seed oil, a dark green oil with a pronounced pumpkin flavor. Hulless pumpkin seeds can be pressed for oil easily as the seeds are nearly 50% fat. Lower fat content in oilseeds requires greater pressure and heat to extract the oil.
Dried pumpkin seeds store well and might become a valuable commodity for a post-SHTF barter economy. They take up little storage space, but are valuable as food and also as a gardening seed.
If you have a survival garden, consider hulless pumpkin as one of your more important crops.