A New Way to Dress Salads

Olive oil is very good but it suddenly became boring after I tried dressing my salad with the intriguing pumpkin seed oil (Kürbiskernöl or simply Kernöl).

Known as Austrian black gold, this oil is a special gourmet item that has its roots in southeastern Austria and small parts of Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary.  Today this small region is the world’s only supplier of authentic pumpkin seed oil.

What is so special about it?

Unlike other plant oils, pumpkin seed oil carries much of its source’s flavor. Meaning to say, it clearly tastes and smells like pumpkin (sometimes, even more than an actual pumpkin). Now, don’t go thinking that flavorings are added to heighten the taste because that is simply not the case.  The seeds that bear the vegetable’s concentrated flavor are shelled and roasted before they are carefully pressed to extract the oil. This all natural process yields aromatic oil with a strong nutty taste and an intriguing green-black color.

This culinary specialty is best used as a salad dressing. A few drops of it on potatoes, mushrooms, rice, and other side dishes will also give the side dish a more delectable taste. It could also be use as an alternative to butter when eating bread and an epicure highlight to some desserts.

Among other medicinal benefits, pumpkin seed oil is believed to have compounds known to lower the risk of some types of kidney stones. It is also believed that pumpkin seed has elements to prevent arteriosclerosis and to regulate cholesterol levels. Therefore, this special oil is not just good for the taste buds but good for the body as well.

For starters, dribble a few drops of pumpkin seed oil on your salad. I am most certainly sure that you’ll like the taste and would want to pour more but as the taste is really concentrated, it’s always better to just put in a little amount the oil. If you are the kind of person who wants to experiment on food, here’s a tip: let a few drops of pumpkin seed oil trickle down your vanilla ice cream. Result: yummilicious!

Myla Ariaga

Five years ago, Myla left her comfort zone to work as an ESL teacher in China. Sure, she enjoyed staying at “Hotel Mama” while doing a secure and hassle-less job in the garment industry but she always felt the need to “go out” and explore the world so at 23, that’s exactly what she did. During her three years stint in China, most of her weekends and holidays were spent visiting places from the northeastern part of China down to Southeast Asia. As her horizon stretches further, her thirst for traveling intensifies. Right now, she’s living in Austria with her husband who, by the way, also shares her passion for traveling. Life may get in the way sometimes but she and her husband see to it that they get to visit new places and try out new things. When she’s not busy with her day job and she's not on a trip somewhere, Myla likes to cultivate her creative side with photography and writing. Her other interests include reading, scrapbooking, and cooking.

1 Comment
  1. I recently picked up some walnut oil – oh my god, it is flavorful! The walnut’s ‘nutty’ flavor adds an extra element to the salad. I also bought some Balsamic vinegar with figs – delicious on a salad too!

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