Muboora or pumpkin leaves (Cucurbitaceae pepo L.) are roundish in shape and often have serrate edges. They feature three or more veins. Typically dark green in color, but may be light or grey- green, depending on the variety. They are often fuzzy in texture, and the small hairs may feel prickly in texture. It generally does well in a wide range of geographical areas given there is enough water. They don’t, however, favor very hot areas as they dry off easily. They can be planted together with other plants/crops as live mulch or cover crop.
Muboora is a traditional African dish hailing from Zimbabwe. It’s made with a combination of pumpkin leaves, oil, tomatoes, onions, salt, and soda bicarbonate. The pumpkin leaves need to be washed carefully as they’re usually full of soil. They are simmered in a pot filled with boiling water and all the other ingredients until the onions and tomatoes are fully cooked.
Muboora is known as ‘UGU’ in Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central of Zimbabwe, where they are valued as a vegetable as well as a herbal medicine. They are known to be high in antioxidants and are particularly sought after by pregnant women and nursing mothers. The product is consumed as a relish vegetable, mostly taken with pap, that can be from, millet, maize, sorghum, cassava among others. The product is abundant during the rainy season.
Muboora dish is at risk of disappearing due to changes in taste. The current generation don’t favor pumpkins let alone the leaves; however, production is still on, and the product is on the market for a short time in the rainy season. Consumption is, however, skewed to the older generations.