Kakai Pumpkin is a pumpkin grown for its large, dark-green hull-less seeds, which are used as snack seed.
The seeds are good tasting both raw and roasted.
The pumpkins are round in shape. The relatively soft rind ripens from shades of green to broken, mottled blackish-green stripes on a orangish-yellow background.
They will weigh 2.25 to 4 kg (5 to 9 pounds.)
Inside, Kakai has a very large, open seed cavity. This makes the seeds easy to get out; it also makes the pumpkins feel light for their physical size.
The pumpkin flesh itself is pretty tasteless and not worth eating, but it can be fed to livestock, etc.
The pumpkin also can be used as an ornamental.
The plant is a semi-bush one with short vines up to around 2 metres (6 feet) long, with large leaves, producing 2 to 3 pumpkins per vine. It can be grown on a trellis. The pumpkins are ready for harvesting 100 days from planting.
A 2.25 kg (5 pound) Kakai Pumpkin will yield about a cup of seeds. Some people report that the seeds inside can sprout if left too long in some storage conditions before harvesting the seeds out.
People often write about Kakai Pumpkins being developed in Japan, but CooksInfo.com has not yet found any documented evidence of this. What is certain is that the variety was developed from Styrian pumpkins.
The variety was known as early as 1993, when it was the subject of an academic article by Esam H. Mansour et al [Nutritive value of pumpkin (Cucurbita Pepo Kakai 35) seed products. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Volume 61, Issue 1, pages 73–78, 1993.]