Pumpkin Seeds Benefits, Calories and Nutrition: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipes
Seasoned Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Make a Healthy Snack
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.
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.
Further Reading: Pumpkin Seed Nutrition and Benefits
- Iowa.gov: What Can You Do With a Pumpkin?
Pumpkin facts and recipes.
- NCDA&CS - Marketing Division: Pumpkins
Facts about pumpkins -- their history and characteristics.
- USDA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Tables of selected nutrients, with listings for pumpkin seeds.
- Arthritis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Recommends eating foods that supply omega-3 fatty acids, including pumpkin seeds.
- The Effect of Pumpkin Seeds Snack on Inhibi... [J Med Assoc Thai. 1993] - PubMed - NCBI
Abstract of a study that found pumpkin seed snacks helped to reduce crystal formation in Thai adolescents with urolithiasis. The researchers concluded that pumpkin seeds improve nutrition and can reduce the risk of bladder stone disease in Thailand.