Zuccurì, our sweet Japanese pumpkin, has numerous nutritional benefits in both the skin and flesh. We encourage consumers to eat the skin along with the flesh because it is delicious and also very rich in nutrients. It contains antioxidants, which protect our cells against the effects of free radicals. Zuccurì skin is also high in β-carotene. β-carotene is good for us because it is converted to Vitamin A in the body and it helps boost the immune system, eye and skin health. Zuccurì, especially the skin, is also rich in fiber and Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps your immune system and protects against free radicals. Fiber is essential for your digestive system. It helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and is very important for a healthy diet. The antioxidants in the edible green skin of Zuccurì also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Not only is Zuccurì skin edible, it's extremely good for you! It is densely packed with nutritional benefits and you would be silly not to eat it.
In Washoku (Japanese food) culture, the skin of Zuccurì is used for artful presentation. It brightens any plate and adds a beautiful contrast to the orange flesh inside the vegetable. The technique of cutting part of the skin to make a pattern is called Kazari-Giri (decorative cutting). This Japanese technique is used to enrich the gastronomical experience by enhancing sight as another sensory experience in addition to taste, touch and smell. Kazari-Giri is the art of beautifully cutting food and an element of Washoku that is part of the cultural heritage of Japan.
In the photos, the leaf detailing carved into the skin of the Zuccurì is an expression of fall harvest and seasonality. It embodies Washoku, harmonious ingredients that are beautifully presented, nutritious, seasonal and reflective of a deep connection with nature.
Washoku and the culture of eating encompasses a traditional, complex yet flexible relationship between ingredients, flavors, colors, cooking techniques, presentation and more. It provides depth to dishes and a multi-tiered approach to traditional Japanese foods. The emphasis we place on Washoku relates to the seasonality and local-mindedness that it encourages.