I take up my reference about the BP oil spill and my thought association to the “black Styrian Gold” that some of you may not be familiar with. The south and southeast regions of the Austrian State Styria is known as the original home of the Steirische Kürbiskernöl.
In autumn it is mainly women who harvest the yellow-green striped pumpkins with the botanical name: Cucurbita Pepo Convarietas Citrullinina – Varietas Styriaca. While still in the field, these workers take out the dark green seeds manually from the yellow flesh. The seeds have no outer shell. The fruit surrounding the seeds is left on the fields as a natural fertilizer. Then the pumpkin seeds are dried, ground up and roasted with a bit of water in a huge pan. This process creates the very distinct walnut taste. Now that paste will be cold pressed in a “Seiherpresse“ (a special squeezer). 2,5 kg seeds (app. 30 – 50 oil pumpkins) are necessary to produce 1 l Kürbiskernöl. If you get the chance watch the process – it is an unforgettable experience.
The color from our pumpkinseed oil ranges from dark green to almost black which explains why it is also commonly referred to as “the black Gold from Styria”. The color originates from the chlorophyll and the carotene in the seed pods. Original Steirisches Kernöl is not mixed with any other oil. Pumpkin seed oil is one of the healthiest oils because it contains over 60% of unsaturated fatty acid along with a number of vitamins such as A, C and D. This cold pressed oil is also rich in vegetable protein.
I grew up with pumpkinseed oil because my mother, like all other moms I knew, did not use anything else. In fact, I vividly remember the first time coming across “colorless” oil. It was while I attended summer camp at about the age of twelve years old. The Viennese cook used sunflower oil and a bit of sugar. I was not thrilled. But now I observe similar reactions in friends who now watch me generously and enthusiastically pouring my thick, dark Styrian oil over the green leaves (often cringing as if it were BP oil gushing into the blue ocean) neither do they share my “nutty” taste.
You can find Styrian pumpkinseed oil in specialty stores in the United States, but it is a bit pricey.
And now some of my favorite salads with Steirischem Kürbiskernöl
Pumpkinseed oil dressing:
4 table spoons pumpkinseed oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or Balsamico)
1 tbsp water
Freshly ground pepper
Mix all ingredients until they blend with each other.
Käferbohnensalat – Bug bean salad
I literally translated the word “Käferbohnen”, because there is no translation nor have I ever seen Käferbohnen in the United States. But this salad is by far the most common one in combination with pumpkinseed oil. As alternative I use lentils, I even tried red chili beans and a mixture of beans.
½ pound of bug beans
Pumpkinseed oil dressing
Soak the Käferbohnen overnight in a bowl of water. The next day drain and rinse the beans, bring a pot of water to boil with the beans. The Käferbohnen are done when soft. Drain water and pour the still warm beans in a salad bowl. Add thin sliced onion stripes, savory, lovage and the pumpkinseed oil dressing. I like Käferbohnen and Erdäpfel salad when still warm.
Erdäpfelsalat – Potato salad
Pumpkinseed oil dressing
Fresh herbs of the season (Parsley, Lovage, Chive)
Cut the warm potatoes in thin slices. Add chopped onions, mustard, water, fresh herbs and marinate with pumpkinseed oil.
Paradeis-Paprika Salat mit Extrawurst – Tomato, bell pepper salad with Bologna Sausage
This was my favorite summer salad when I was a child of course it was the pieces of Extrawurst soaked in the dressing that made this salad so special! My siblings and I would also fight over who got to drink the leftover juice dressing from the bottom of the bowl. –Yummy!
3 green bell peppers
3 slices of Bolonga Sausage (Extrawurst)
2 tbsp water
Pumpkinseed oil dressing
Cut tomatoes, green bell pepper and boloni in small squares and put them in the salad bowl. Marinate with the pumpkinseed oil dressing.
Saures Rindfleisch – Beef Salad
The best thing when you have a hangover!
Instead of lean beef you can use headcheese or Bologna Sausage.
Very thin slices of cooked lean beef
Place the slices of the cooked lean beef on a plate. Slice onions in thin rings and lay them over the meat. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Marinate with pumpkinseed oil and Balsamico.
Mozarella with Tomatoes and Pumpkinseed oil
1 Package of Mozarella
Fresh Basil leaves
Cut Mozarella and tomatoes into wedges and place them on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour pumpkinseed oil and Balsamico over the salad and decorate it with fresh basil leaves.
Steirisches Kernöl Pesto – Styrian Pumpkinseed oil Pesto
1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
1 tsp Lemon peel
1 tbsp Lemon juice
½ cup Pumpkinseed oil
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Pour all ingredients in a bowl and mix them until you have a thick paste. Cut the baguette into slices, put olive oil and cut garlic on the bread and toast it in the oven. When done, top the toasted bread with the Pumpkinseed oil pesto. Store the rest of the pesto in the refrigerator.