The versatility of kabocha, a vegetable loved not just in Japan but throughout the world, is well known.
For Japanese people, kabocha is a food that appears in various guises — as easy-to-make tempura, stewed, in barbecues, as a thick soup or in sweets — and adds color, sweet flavor and mildness to a meal.
And kabocha is a vegetable with an excellent nutritional profile. Its most famous nutrient is beta-carotene. The orange color in kabocha itself is beta-carotene. In other words, it’s mostly beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A inside the body, increases immunity, reduces eyestrain, keep the skin healthy and protects the respiratory system. The nutrient helps prevent colds and cancer because it fights off illnesses that develop when immunity is low.
Eating kabocha during the winter solstice is a Japanese tradition, and it carries the meaning of avoiding catching a cold during the changing of the season and a cold time of year.
By the way, there are more nutrients in a pumpkin’s skin than in the flesh we normally eat. And the easiest way to eat the skin is by boiling the pumpkin in soy sauce broth.
If you’ve avoided eating the skin so far, try both the flesh and the skin for your health and to get a taste of the true potential of kabocha.