Pumpkin seed oil from Štajerska and Prekmurje was given special geographical protection status in the latest edition of the Official Journal of the European Union. This is the 15th Slovenian food product to be so registered with the European Commission.

The traditional oil is an unrefined, edible vegetable oil produced by pressing roasted top-quality pumpkin seeds without the use of additives which can be dark green to red in color, has a characteristic aroma and lovely taste, and has a favorable fatty acids composition, the registration says. Pumpkin oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E,  vitamin A carotenes, magnesium and other nutrients.

It is great for baking/roasting meats at oven temperatures around 325 degrees; for sautéing vegetables, in salads and pesto and as a topping for cheese dishes. See recipe below.

A number of traditional Slovenian dishes have already received one of the three categories of E.U. protected geographical status labels. Thus far, the following Slovenian food products have been so registered: Bovec, Nanos, and Tolmin cheeses; the kraški pršut (prosciutto from the Karst); extra virgin olive oil from the Istra region; forest honey from Kočevje; prleška tunjka (cured meat from Prlekija);  belokranjska pogača (bread from Bela Krajina), idrijski žlikrofi (dumplings from Idrija);  prekmurska gibanica (layered pastry from Prekmurje). 

In the United States, Slovenian pumpkin seed oil can 
be purchased at: Tri-Wines, Inc. More information at: http://www.slovenianpremiumwines.com. ( Story from  STA-Slovenian Press Agency).

Recipe:  Carinthian Cottage Cheese with Onions and Pumpkin Oil.  Ingredients: 650 cottage cheese made from cow’s milk, 1 onion, 1-2 teaspoons grounded sweet paprika, pepper, salt, 2-3 spoons pumpkin oil.

Preparation method:
1. Add grounded red paprika to the cottage cheese, a bit of pepper, if desired, salt and cut onion.
2. Pour the pumpkin oil on top before serving. www.slovenia,info

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About Sylvia P. Onusic, PhD, LDN, CNS

Licensed and board-certfied nutritionist, writer and researcher. BS in Home Economics, Foods and Nutrition Education;, MS in Health Administration; PhD in Public Health Education; completed the dietetic program at Penn State, University and the CNS Certified Nutrition Specialist program. Fulbrighter to Slovenia in Public Health. Speaker at Weston A. Price Foundation Conference and International Raw Milk Symposiums. Member of the American College of Nutrition. Creator and tour leader for "Taste of Slovenia, a Real Food Tour."
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