Pumpkin Seeds

Wide number of ‘with shell’ varieties include lady finger and snow white but the most commonly grown for inshell and bakery use is ‘shineskin.  These varieties are most widely grown for seed in China.

GWS (Grown without shell) is a darker coloured kernel that grows without a protective hull.  China is the main producer of GWS for export (no domestic consumption), hover there are also Styrian GWS pumpkin seeds available from Austria and Ukraine.  These command a considerable premium over Chinese grown GWS.

In many applications GWS and hulled shineskin can be used interchangeably, as typically the only difference is the green hue.

However in mainland Europe GWS is historically the most widely demanded.

In recent years shineskin plantings have increased to increased inshell demand within China and the Middle East.  This demand often leads to significant price volatility with both origins.  GWS tends to track the shineskin price.  Typically it should be cheaper, as the costs to hull shineskin don’t exist for GWS.

AA grade relates to a uniform size and coloured seed

A grade has greater colour and size variation.


Most pumpkin is grown on small land holdings, and consolidated by regional buyers, who trade on to processors.

Freeworld is proud to work with a dedicated grower operating their own 4 farms.  This gives us considerably more traceability down to farm level.

Harvest tends to be in October/November time.

Seeds are removed on the fields from the pumpkin flesh.

In the case of GWS, the fibrous strands that adhere the seeds to the flesh must be washed and scrubbed off

For shineskin these strands are removed during the mechanical hulling process.

Considerable amounts of cleaning/processing is required to create a high purity spec, due to the variation in size and colours of the kernels.

High admixture is (EVM, including pumpkin flesh)

A naturally occurring mould called sclerotina is also a risk in pumpkin.  Roughly the same colour and density of the seeds it can pass through the cleaning systems.  In ‘wet’ bakery applications the cooking process will cause the sclerotina to disintegrate.

However, during the drying of the seeds (down to 8%) the sclerotina will dry and become very hard.

In muesli this can be an issue.  We recommend further cleaning to reduce sclerotina levels.

Scleortina is more common in GWS than shineskin.

Stones, glass and ‘embedded filth’ are low risk thanks to advance colour scanners.

Micros can be an issue.  We recommend Heat treating for packing use

Too great a variation in colour is the most regularly cited defects.

Often dried pumpkin flesh or sclerotina can incorrectly diagnosed as ‘malformed kernels.’

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Alex Poole

I joined Freeworld many years ago after graduating from Edinburgh University in Philosophy  & Economics. I currently manage our seeds and vine fruits (exc. South America) positions.

My star sign is Libra, and my favourite animal is the liger.