Are you feeling a bit confused about what Japanese pumpkin is and wondering if it is low FODMAP? You’re not the only one! Japanese pumpkin is listed as a safe low FODMAP pumpkin in the Monash University Low FODMAP app. But what exactly is Japanese Pumpkin?
Japanese pumpkin was originally called Kabocha squash/pumpkin and this name is used in North America, UK and Japan (1 2).‘ This type of pumpkin is also referred to as Kent pumpkin (3). The Kabocha pumpkin is an Asian variety of winter squash from the species Cucurbita maxima (2).
|Japanese Pumpkin||Australia & New Zealand|
|Buttercup Pumpkin||New Zealand|
|Supermarket Squash||New Zealand|
|Kabocha Squash||North America, UK & Japan|
|Fak Thong (ฟักทอง or golden squash)||Thailand|
Are there different varieties of Kabocha squash/Japanese pumpkin?
There are many common varieties of Kabocha squash: Ajihei, Ajihei No. 107, Ajihei No. 331, Ajihei No. 335, Cutie, Ebisu (Delica), Emiguri, and Miyako (1 2 7). Buttercup squash is a form of Kabocha based on Seiyo Kabocha (1 2).
In New Zealand, Kabocha is sold as buttercup squash or supermarket squash. Researchers, 7, analysed the sugars in six of the Kabocha squash varieties. All varieties had positive glucose to fructose ratios, where the squash contained more glucose than fructose (See Table of Sugars & Starch in Kabocha Squash Varieties at the bottom of this article) (7). This means it is likely that different varieties of Kabocha are safe on the low FODMAP diet providing you stick to the recommended serving size.
What does Kabocha squash look like?
Kabocha squash has dark green/grey knobbly-looking skin with lighter green, yellow, orange or white stripes (1 3 8). The skin is hard and has a dull-finish (1). Inside the squash has bright orange flesh (1 3 8).
What does Kabocha squash taste like?
What serving size is low FODMAP?
According to the Monash Low FODMAP Diet App, Japanese pumpkin is low FODMAP and can be eaten freely.
How do you choose a Kabocha squash?
Choose a Kabocha squash that has hard thick skin and is heavy for its size. Avoid any squash that has soft patches or cracks in the skin as these can mean the squash is old or contaminated with bacteria.
Store the whole Kabocha in a cool dark place. Once you cut the squash you need to deseed and store it in the fridge – it will last up to a week.
Japanese pumpkin or Kabocha is a delicious low FODMAP veggie that can be used in soups, stir-fries, risottos, pizza, and even desserts. It is definitely one of my favourite low FODMAP veggies. Happy cooking!
Table of Sugars & Starch in Kabocha Squash Varieties
|Table 3: Average sugar, starch, and dry matter (DM) contents of six uncooked squash (Cucurbita maxima) cultivars. (NS, not significant; NA, not applicable; LSD, least significant difference; average ranks, with the Kruskal-Wallis test the data is ranked, and the average of the ranks for each treatment is the basis for comparison.)|
|Biochemical Measurements *||Ajihei||Delica||Emiguri||Kofuki||Miyako||T133||LSD||P values|
|Square root transformed||(2.20)||(3.36)||(3.15)||(1.61)||(1.98)||(1.51)||0.97||0.002|
|*Sugar and starch contents are expressed as mg/g fresh weight.|
(Table Information Sourced From: Cumarasamy et al., 2002, p. 203)