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Pumpkin Seeds Benefits, Calories and Nutrition: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipes

Updated on April 30, 2012

Seasoned Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Make a Healthy Snack

Pumpkin Seeds by Giffconstable
Pumpkin Seeds by Giffconstable | Source

The benefits of pumpkin seeds, with nutritional information, pumpkin seed health facts, calories and tips on toasting and roasting fresh pumpkin seeds. Tasty recipes for toasted pumpkin seeds for snacks, kids' treats and as an ingredient for other dishes. Use pumpkin seeds in salads, trail mix, main dishes side dishes and desserts. New ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds -- and their nutrition. Easy recipes for a quick, nutritious snack with health benefits.

Pumpkin Seeds Benefits

Pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. Despite all the bad press about fat, good fats are important to your health. Healthy fats such as the fat from pumpkin seeds help to maintain healthy skin and hair and are important to your body's processes. Omega 3 fatty acids can help to relieve inflammation. Adequate fat in the diet is crucial for men to maintain testosterone levels.

Eating pumpkin seeds provides this health fat source to help satisfy your appetite, and gives the enjoyable hand-to-mouth eating experience that can easily lead to eating too many empty calorie foods such as candies or chips. Eating pumpkin seeds instead gives your body better quality nutrition, and when you make your own toasted pumpkin seeds you can avoid added oils and excess sodium.

This treat offers a healthy snack food year-round -- and may be especially helpful during the fall and winter, when cold weather and the busy holiday season put extra demands on you.

In addition to boosting your intake of health omega-3 fats, pumpkin seeds supply protein, vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin seeds can replace empty calories from sweets and processed snack foods to help you improve your energy and maintain your energy levels. Nutritious foods such as pumpkin seeds that contain protein, fat and fiber help to maintain blood sugar levels for sustained energy. They're also fun to decorate with. You can use them to add texture and designs to muffins, breads and even sandwiches. Tell the kids those shiny ovals on an open-faced sandwich are alien food -- it's worth a try!

Stove-Top Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin guts. If you have kids on hand, they'll enjoy helping with this.

Rinse the pumpkin seeds in a colander to remove the pumpkin residue.

Spread the pumpkin seeds on a dishtowel or other clean towel to dry.

Spread the pumpkin seeds in a heavy skillet. You can toast them dry, without added fat, or lightly oil the skillet with coconut oil or olive oil. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt or table salt, if desired.

Toast the seeds at medium heat for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until light tan. Turn the pumpkin seeds every 10 minutes to to toast them evenly.

Cool the seeds before eating them.


Toasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Add 1 to 2 tbsp. of salt to 1 quart of water. Bring the water to a boil.

Add the cleaned pumpkin seeds to the water and boil them for 10 minutes.

Pour the pumpkin seeds into a metal colander. Shake the colander to remove excess water and array the seeds on a clean dish towel. Pat the pumpkin seeds dry.

Melt 1 tbsp. of sweet butter over low heat. Put the pumpkin seeds in a mixing bowl, pour the butter over them and stir to distribute the butter evenly.

Shake the pumpkin seeds on a large cookie sheet and arrange them into a thin layer.

Center the baking sheet in the oven and toast the pumpkin seeds for 25 to 40 minutes. Stir the pumpkin seeds every 10 minutes. Make sure they don't toast too long. Over baked pumpkin seeds take on a bitter flavor.

Shell the pumpkin seeds before eating.

Variations on toasted or roasted pumpkin seeds:

Shell the pumpkin seeds and toss with tamari and cayenne pepper for a spicy snack.

Mix shelled pumpkin seeds with a light sprinkling of powdered wasabi -- a strong Japanese horseradish -- and a drizzle of soy sauce for hot wasabi pumpkin seeds.

Add shelled pumpkin seeds to trail mix for a sugar-free energy boost.

Mix shelled pumpkin seeds with popcorn to give your movie snack a nutrition boost.


Pumpkin Seed Tips

Sea salt offers a wider range of minerals than regular table salt. Omit the salt if you're on a salt-restricted diet. Sprinkling mixed herbs, black pepper or a flavored oil such as garlic infused olive oil over pumpkin seeds can add flavor without adding sodium.

Try raw pumpkin seeds in salads and trail mix. These versatile seeds provide more nutritional value in their raw state, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Add pumpkin seeds to soups, stews, main dishes, side dishes and deserts. Grind pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder to use in baked goods or to mix with humus or bean dip.

Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition

A one ounce serving of roasted pumpkin seeds contains about 142 seeds. This serving supplies 148 calories, 151 mg of magnesium and 4.2 grams of iron, according to the USDA.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in beta carotene, which your body uses to create vitamin A. Preliminary evidence suggests diets high in plant foods and antioxidants such as beta carotene may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Beta carotene may also help combat visible signs of aging. It helps to protect your skin. Pumpkin seeds also provide vitamin K, another vitamin helpful to your body and skin.

Pumpkin seeds supply omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that can ease inflammation in arthritis, according to MedlinePlus.


Pumpkin Information

The pumpkin is a fruit, and belongs to the same family as melons, cucumbers and squash. An average pumpkin yields one cup of seeds, according to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Pumpkin comes from the Greek "pepon," the term for "large melon." This fruit is native to America.

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    • SanneL profile image

      SanneL 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      HikeGuy, I just had to revisit this well-written and well-researched hub about pumpkin seeds. These seeds are a healthy, nutritious and tasty snack and I just love to add them into my salads or in my baking. I really do believe it's the healthy fats in pumpkin seeds that maintain my healthy skin. Voted up, useful and shared!

    • HikeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryce 

      6 years ago from Northern California Coast

      SanneL -- I'm glad you liked it and linked it. That's a good point, pumpkin seeds offer a healthy protein source for vegetarian and vegan diets. Grinding seeds makes them useful for recipes where whole pumpkin seeds would affect the texture.

    • SanneL profile image

      SanneL 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      I love Pumpkins seeds, they taste great. Furthermore, that little seed is cramped with so many health benefits.

      I hope its no problem that I linked this very useful hub to my vegetarian hub.

      I liked your great idea of grinding pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder to use in baked goods or to mix with humus or bean dip.

      Thank you for sharing this.

      Voted up and useful!:)

    • HikeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryce 

      6 years ago from Northern California Coast

      Ubanichijioke -- Thanks! Glad this brought up good memories. I like making treats I remember from when I was a kid. Finding out how healthy pumpkin seeds are motivated me to enjoy them more often.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      6 years ago from Lagos

      Wow! This was informative and wonderful to read. I remember my mother making this and it was delicious. A great piece!

    • HikeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryce 

      6 years ago from Northern California Coast

      Kenneth -- Wow. Thanks! You're right about pumpkin seeds for colon health. Their fiber is one of their many benefits. I agree -- much better than chemicals. Eating natural, whole foods helps to keep our bodies balanced in many ways.

      Greekgeek -- Thank you. I went through the same thing when I started using pumpkin seeds as snacks. I remembered them from my childhood, but I wasn't clear on how to prepare them. Most of the time I get them in trail mix -- they're raw and already shelled. But yeah, during the fall when there are Halloween pumpkins and Thanksgiving pumpkin pie pumpkins, it's good to have recipes for toasted pumpkin seeds on hand.

    • Greekgeek profile image

      Ellen 

      6 years ago from California

      Shoot, I went with the Joy of Cooking because I can never remember how my Mom did the seeds back when we had a garden. I still carve a pumpkin or two each year to use as "trick or treater" bait and save the seeds for me!

      Bookmarked, and I'll try it next time I get a pumpkin. Thanks. :)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, HikeGuy, GREAT read! Informative and in-depth. LOVED the topic and I love pumpkin seed for another reason: They clean out your colon. And it works much better than chemicals. Voted up and away on this. I admire your talent. Keep up the great work and Ive already told the world why I LIKE HikeGuy and PROUD to be Your Follower. Sincerely, Kenneth Avery

    • HikeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryce 

      6 years ago from Northern California Coast

      I started this hub before Halloween -- I had to stop reading about pumpkin seed health benefits and publish this.

    • HikeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryce 

      6 years ago from Northern California Coast

      RVDaniels -- You're welcome. I'm glad you found it.

    • HikeGuy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryce 

      6 years ago from Northern California Coast

      RVDaniels -- You're welcome. I'm glad you found it.

    • RVDaniels profile image

      RVDaniels 

      6 years ago from Athens, GA

      I'd been looking for this. Thanks!

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