We all know the wonders of olive oil and sunflower oil, the two most common oils we use for cooking, in salads etc and if you’re like me, after a shower to keep your skin hydrated (bet you didn’t know that!). But have you ever heard of pumpkin seed oil? I know I hadn’t until my recent visit to Slovenia on my “8-Country, 8-Day Birthday Road Trip” where they basically replace olive oil entirely with this centuries-old process of making pumpkin seed oil. Thanks to our host, Bojan, at Firbas Farmhouse’s suggestion, we found ourselves at the doorstep of Kocbek a small family run pumpkin seed oil factory in the village. Unfortunately we arrived outside of production hours but the owner was incredibly hospitable and pleased to show off his knowledge, explain every step of the harvesting process and even let us sample a variety of cold and warm pressed oils (walnut and pumpkin).
He was most proud to show us the machines he uses which his grandfather bought second-hand, meaning they are VERY old and authentic yet still in great shape and capable of full production. It was fun to see one of the local farmers come in while we were there to weigh and drop off his big sacks of dried seeds. Dried they last about two years, allowing the factory to be in full production all year round. I was amazed to learn that there are 825 different types of pumpkins (what?! Yes. I kid you not, that is what he said.) but there is only one variety from which they get seeds for oil, full of taste, vitamins and minerals.
We always hear that cold press is the healthier, better option when purchasing oil, but our friend had something else to say about that. If warm pressed (roasted) seeds are top quality and are roasted on the lowest possible temperature, then the difference is very small. He shed light that despite cold press indeed being more pricey due to lengthier production time and product needed to produce it, the health benefits were so slightly different that he couldn’t recommend cold press for its health benefits (if warm press is done in way described above) and admits that most people prefer warm press taste anyway.
To give you an idea, 3kg of seeds (that’s about 30 pumpkins worth) produces 1litre of oil, taking 1 hour and 15 minutes. In their factory they produce about 17 litres per hour. Cold press takes 6kg (about 60 pumpkins) for 1 litre of oil. They produce 3litres/hour.
He was kind enough to give us samples of walnut oil, and pumpkin seed oil cold pressed, warm pressed with irons and warm pressed half on stones. We were all genuinely impressed by the rich green and also reddish-brown colors of the oils.
The process they use is all natural with zero filters, so you can imagine how pure and lovely these oils are. Of course we needed to take some home with us.
TIP: When they say the oil is healthy and you can’t eat too much, keep in mind that they probably consume a whole lot of it daily. As delicious as the oils are, even on their own, don’t dive in like a stupid pregnant lady thinking you can stomach it like a local Slovenian! I felt mildly nauseous after four shots of straight oil and was reminded far too much of the early days of morning sickness.
Categories: Savannah Grace