Can Cucurbita pepo Gourd Seeds be Made Edible?
|Title||Can Cucurbita pepo Gourd Seeds be Made Edible?|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|Journal||Journal of Archaeological Science|
|Keywords||Cucurbita pepo, Eastern North America, Gourd seed edibility, Seed crop processing|
The earliest pre-maize indigenous crop in eastern North America are gourds of the species Cucurbita pepo; C. pepo gourd remains are found on mid-Holocene archaeological sites throughout the East. The C. pepo gourds of modern, natural populations produce high levels of extremely bitter cucurbitacins, chemicals which make both the flesh and the seeds inedible. It is assumed that the fruits and seed coats of the ancient C. pepo gourds were equally bitter and inedible. The major question regarding C. pepo gourds is how they would have been used. A series of recent experiments show that the seeds of dried C. pepo gourds can be processed to make them edible.